Why You Shouldn’t Talk About Your Criminal Case
You’re going to want to “explain what happened” to the police. You’re going to want to talk them into letting them go. Even if you’re smart enough to refuse to talk to the police without your lawyer present you might create new problems if you turn around and start talking to friends or family members.
And you’re going to want to.
You’re going to want to discuss your emotions with your family and friends. You’re going to want to try to prove your innocence in the court of their opinion, especially if you are innocent and they believe otherwise.
Yet if you want to retain your freedom, you must resist this urge.
You create new, admissible evidence.
“Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law” doesn’t just hold when you’ve been arrested. It holds throughout your entire case.
Most of your loved ones can be subpoenaed and made to state what you told them. Rest assured that a prosecutor can easily twist those words against you.
There are exceptions. Your spouse can’t be called upon to testify against you, but even there you have to be careful. Only communications that you intend to be private and maintain as confidential are protected. That means you can have a quiet conversation alone in a locked bedroom and protect the conversation, but if you have the same conversation in a coffee shop the conversation is admissible.
Note that you will want to brief your loved one on these rules before having a conversation with your spouse. If your spouse turns around and passionately defends you to a family member it’s as if you never took the precaution at all.
You put your loved ones in a bad spot.
Your loved ones probably don’t want to be called upon to testify against you. So don’t put them in the position of having to.
They might not understand why you don’t want to talk about the case, but you can always repair that damage after you’ve been acquitted.
So what can you do?
Stop looking at your social media accounts and stop using them. It will be hard not to speak up if you see people talking about you.
Tell your friends and family: “The case is ongoing. My attorney has advised me not to speak to anyone. I’m working hard to prove my innocence.”
Do tell your attorney if any of your friends and family could serve as alibi witnesses for you or might have other information that could help you out.
Finally, in addition to talking to your lawyer it can be a good idea to talk to a therapist who will be bound by therapist-patient confidentiality so long as your therapist has no reason to believe you will commit any future crimes. Ask your attorney to carefully review the circumstances under which your therapist might be subpoenaed so you understand what you should or shouldn’t say, but having someone “safe” to talk to who can help you manage your emotions throughout the process can be very helpful.
If you are the family member or friend of a loved one who is in trouble with the law, don’t pressure them to talk. If you want them to get acquitted, they need to keep right on exercising their right to remain silent.