Hi, my name is Ivan Morse and I am a criminal defense lawyer. Prior to being a criminal defense lawyer I spent a few years on the Oakland police department where I investigated virtually every type of crime that existed. Not only investigated it, but interviewed people who were witnesses or suspects in that crime. Today I am going to be talking to you about the Fifth Amendment and what you should do if you are either arrested or being investigated for a crime. The simplest way I can put that is that silence is golden - I want you to remember that. Silence is golden. Now I'm going to explain that a little bit more as we go forward.
In a criminal defense case, one of the main things that a criminal defense lawyer does - one of the criminal defense lawyer's primary goals is to defend the Constitution. The framers of the Constitution gave us the Fifth Amendment. The Fifth Amendment says that you don't have to incriminate yourself. Now the thing that I hear from person after person after person is, "Well, if I don't talk to the police, they're going to think that I'm guilty."
Well the fact of the matter is that they already think that you're guilty and we've all heard the adage that anything that you say can and will be used against you in the court of law. It is absolutely true. In my almost thirty years of practice as a criminal defense lawyer and prior to that being an Oakland policeman, I have never in my combined experience between the two ever found that it was to an individual's benefit to talk to the police. So when I say that silence is golden, I mean it. Exercise it; take advantage of the Fifth Amendment which is what the framers of our Constitution gave us over 230 years ago because they know how the government can use it against you.
Let me just give you one example of something you say can and will be used against you. I'm sure that most of you are familiar with the Martha Stewart case and the fact that she was convicted and spent some time in jail. Well, she wasn't convicted for what the original investigation was about. They were originally investigating Martha Stewart for securities violations, insider trading. When they came to talk to her and she agreed to talk to them, she ended up in the long run not being prosecuted for securities violations; she ended up being prosecuted for something she had told the police or the investigators that they found to be untrue. So that's why she was convicted. Had she exercised her right to remain silent and not said anything, she would've never been convicted of a crime.
So, remember the Fifth Amendment is designed to protect you. If you talk to the police, it's going to be used against you and if your thought process is that, "If I don't talk to them, they are going to think I'm guilty," the fact of the matter is they already think your guilty. So do yourself a favor, take advantage of the Fifth Amendment, your right to remain silent, your right not to incriminate yourself.
If either the police or the Internal Revenue Service or any other law enforcement agency calls you up and says, "I want to talk to you," tell them "No, I've talked to my lawyer, my lawyer has told me I shouldn't say anything and I need to call my lawyer." That's it, if you follow that one simple rule and remember that silence is golden, you'll do nothing but benefit yourself and it's going to help your criminal defense lawyer as you go forward with the criminal process.
My name is Ivan Morse, I am a criminal defense lawyer. I offer free consultations and if you need some assistance give me a call at 925-452-4065 or visit me at my website IvanMorseLaw.com. I wish you the best of luck.