Resisting arrest, even when innocent of any crime, is a criminal act in and of itself that can be used to make you appear guilty of other charges. Is the inverse true then? Does cooperating fully with the police help you in your criminal defense case, and can it help reduce your charges or have them dismissed?
Unfortunately, the scales are not perfectly balanced. While interfering with and harassing a police officer will put you in cuffs, being subservient and telling them everything they want to know will not get you out of them. But it might help. To get to the bottom of the question of whether or not cooperation helps you, we need to examine another imbalance inherent in the criminal justice system.
Separating the Truth from the Lies
After you have been arrested for a crime, the law enforcement officers present may try to get you to talk, or to cooperate with their investigation, after reading your Miranda rights. They may say that you are not in any trouble and they just want some answers. They may even claim that you will face lesser charges if you give them some evidence upfront, like where your accomplices went or what it is you stole. This is where things get deceptive and you need to take a grain of salt.
While it is illegal for you to lie to a law enforcement official – this can constitute obstruction of justice if an investigation or questioning is underway – it is not illegal for
them to lie to you. When the officer says they will help you out if you talk, they probably won't. Or they probably can't due to the limitations of their job description. To this end, your cooperation should never become your own self-incrimination.
After you have been arrested, simply say you want to use your Fifth Amendment rights to remain silent and wait for an attorney to represent you. While you technically aren't helping them with your silence, you certainly aren't being uncooperative or disruptive. And remember: most police officers are just men and women doing their jobs and who do not want any trouble – if you do not want to remain respectfully quiet and calm for your own sake, you can at least do it for theirs.
If you need an Orange County criminal defense attorney to represent you after you have been charged with a crime, you should look no further than The Law Office of Frances Prizzia. Our lead attorney, Ms. Prizzia, was rewarded the 2015 Avvo Clients' Choice Award for criminal defense! And we offer FREE case evaluations to all inquiring clients.