When you are accused of a crime, the police will want to talk to you without legal guidance to get you to say anything they can use against you. Police officers are well-trained in investigations – they use different techniques to obtain information from suspects. Therefore, you can incriminate yourself.
Here is what you need to know about self-incrimination:
What is it?
Self-incrimination is the act of exposing yourself by making a statement that confirms an accusation or a charge. It can be intentional or unintentional.
For example, if the police stop you with a reasonable suspicion of drunk driving and ask what you have been drinking, and you answer, “I’ve just had two beers,” you may have intentionally incriminated yourself.
Contrarily, if the police question you informally (just to obtain more information about a case), without you knowing you are a suspect, you may unintentionally incriminate yourself.
Further, a confession can be compelled – you did it intentionally but were coerced. This is called compelled self-incrimination.
How does it happen?
Self-incrimination can happen in different ways, with the common one being talking to the police without legal guidance. Another way you can provide the police with information that disadvantages you is by posting on social media. The police can use your posts and the content you engage with to build a case against you. For example, if you post often, they can quickly tell where you were on a particular day.
Discussing your case with loved ones may also lead to self-incrimination. The police may interview them as part of the investigations, and one may say a statement you informed them, which may hurt your case.
If you are accused of a crime or are facing a charge, you may need to get legal help to avoid incriminating yourself.