Contrary to a common belief, the police do not have to read you your rights before they question you about your knowledge of any crime. This holds true up until the point when you are placed under arrest. A Miranda warning is not required until after you have been placed into police custody and before an officer, detective or the prosecution begins questioning you about your involvement in the commission of a crime. Up until that point the police are free to question any individual they suspect may have pertinent information or may be involved in criminal activities.
If you are stopped by a police officer and subjected to questioning about a recent crime, you need to understand your rights. You have the right to remain silent, and it is advised that you do. Even if you are innocent and have no involvement with the criminal activities, any information you voluntarily give the officer at that point could be used in the case against you and most certainly will used against you if you are later charged and brought to trial. A police officer does not have to inform you if you are a suspect in a crime. You may believe you are doing the right thing and providing the police with valuable information, when in actual fact they are actively working to establish probable cause for your arrest.
For close to 13 years Robert R. Kurtz, Attorney at Law has been actively defending the rights of those accused of committing criminal offenses in Knoxville and the surrounding areas. We are very familiar with the tactics used by police officers and the prosecution to solicit a confession or establish probable cause to warrant an arrest. In numerous cases we have had clients believe the statements they innocently made to police could not be used against them as nobody had officially read them their rights. As a general rule, we recommend you politely decline to answer any questions from police or investigators regardless of whether or not you believe you are a suspect. Simply ask the officer if you are free to go and if so, leave without providing any information. Then as soon as you can, contact a Knoxville criminal defense attorney at our firm so that we can begin our own investigation and if necessary, start building a strategy for your defense.