Answers to Questions About New Jersey Police Investigation and Confessions to Police

New Jersey police investigations involve issues such as interrogations, confessions and searches and seizure that by operation of law - automatically - invoke fundamental constitutional rights of individuals against self incrimination, the right to a lawyer and the right to privacy.

Some individuals believe that they can talk their way out of potential criminal troubles by providing information to the police, while others are so susceptible to questioning by authorities that they feel compelled to give the police a full accounting.

However, it is a bad idea to respond to police interrogation without having a lawyer present.

It is important to know the rules! and the first step in dealing with police interrogations is to distinguish between whether an interrogation is custodial or non custodial, because individuals interrogated are afforded much less protections under the constitution for non custodial interrogations.

Non Custodial Interrogations are questions posed by police to an individual before he has been taken custody or deprived of freedom of action in any significant way.

Essentially, non custodial interrogations are performed by police when they are investigating a case before they have made an arrest.

Custodial interrogation is any questioning by the police of an individual who is already in custody.

Such individuals have constitutional protections such as right against self incrimination and right to an attorney.

They must be read these rights - Miranda warning - accordingly.

Whether a person is in custody or not depends on whether a reasonable person would believe that he or she is free to leave.

How to effectively end a New Jersey police investigation or interrogation?

The interrogation must end if and when it is communicated to the police at any time during questioning, of the suspect's wish to remain silent.

At this point in time the police simply must stop asking questions about the crime.

Furthermore, no negative inference may be drawn by a suspect invoking his right to remain silent while under police interrogation.

Similarly, an interrogation must end immediately upon declaration from the suspect that he wishes to engage an attorney and the interrogation may not resume until an attorney arrives.

Finally, to comply with the constitution all confessions pursuant to police interrogations must be voluntary.

In other words, they may not be made under any threats, coercion or duress, otherwise, the suspect - defendant - may ask the Judge to exclude it from evidence in any legal proceedings against him or her.

What if in a New Jersey police investigation I have a co-defendant who confessed?

That confession cannot be introduced in trial as evidence especially if there is a joint trial.

Did You Know?

Street Interrogation - a police officer may question someone on the street without reasonable suspicion or probable cause although the questioned individual is under no obligation to answer and refusal is not considered basis for an arrest.

Click here if you would like to speak to a New Jersey criminal defense lawyer, about a New Jersey police investigation.