Can looking good cause you to be found guilty?
During my experience as a defense attorney, I have spoken with countless individuals who have been found guilty and convicted of a crime. Over the course of these conversations I have discovered a valuable, if contradictory, truth. A truth which I would like to share with all of you.
These conversations often take place while we are preparing for something and reviewing their case together. We will be talking and going over the case, and I will pose the question, “How did this happen? Why did you talk to the police? Why did you make that confession? Why didn't you take the time to bother to explain this or that?” They will respond with, “Mr. Scott, the only reason why I did it is because if I would have said, ‘No you can't search the car,' I would have looked guilty.” Or, “If I refused to talk to the police and demanded I speak with my attorney, I would have seemed guilty!”
In other words, looking good led them to be found guilty.
Out of a fear of looking guilty, these people made decisions that they thought would demonstrate their innocence. Believing that cooperating would make them look good, they might have consented to a search or given a statement to police. Even though they were trying to be helpful and cooperative, they were still ultimately found guilty.
The bottom line and what I'd like you to take away from this, is that it is better to look guilty than to be found guilty. Ask yourself this- who cares if you look guilty by not consenting to a search? I don't care about that and you should not either. Imagine if you were to say, “I understand you are doing your job, but I do not consent to searches,” to a police officer. If the outcome is that your car is not searched, and as a result, something is not found in your car, then who cares about how you look?
If you find yourself in a situation where you can either exercise your right to remain silent or give up that right in an attempt to look good, the choice should be a no brainer. Exercise your right and don't worry about how it looks. Sometimes looking good can cause you to be found guilty, and it is always better to look guilty than to be convicted and found guilty.
My name is Corey Scott. If I can be of any further help, please call me at 317-634-0101. Take great care.