Yes, they can. But only if certain provisions are met. The law states that once a police officer has taken you into custody, he or she must make you aware of a set of fundamental rights. This list is commonly referred to as Miranda warnings. If the police do not apprise you of these rights, but continue their questions after you have been clearly taken into custody, then anything you say cannot be used against you in a court of law.
But if in fact you are read (or shown a list of) your Miranda warnings, and you invoke your right to remain silent (by verbally telling the officer of wish to remain silent) or to speak with an attorney (by verbally telling the officer you wish to consult with a ST. Louis criminal defense lawyer), then the questions from the police must stop.
However, it is permissible for the police to restart questioning you again, as long as they wait at least fourteen (14) days from when you were initially Mirandized. (Maryland v. Shatzer, U.S. Sup. Ct. 2010). So if you are facing questions from the police, and you assert your right to remain silent after the Miranda warnings are issued, the questions will stop. But let’s assume the police come back eighteen (18) days later and take you to the very same interrogation room. They give you a fresh reading of your Miranda warnings. And this time, you decide to talk and answer their questions. In this kind of situation, the statements you make can and will be used as evidence against you.
Each and every day, in courtrooms across the country, St. Louis criminal defense arguments are made to judges about whether or not statements made by a suspect should be admitted into evidence. More often than not, that question comes down to whether or not the statement was made in violation of Miranda. These are critical arguments to be made, because the answer could very easily determine the outcome of the case (and therefore the difference between jail time and being set free).
But this is why it is so very important to consult an attorney about such matters as soon as possible. The experienced St. Louis criminal defense attorneys at Brinkman & Alter, LLC have been helping people with their legal-related issues for years. Our team of lawyers are prepared to fully explain your range of options, what exactly your rights are, how the process will likely play out, and give you the assurance that we will stand by your side from beginning to end.
We have two locations: in the Central West End, at 1 North Taylor, St. Louis, MO 63108; and the Twin Cities of Festus / Crystal City, at 1000 Truman Blvd (Highway 61/67) 63019. The initial consultation is free of charge. So call today to learn more.