U.S. Law Shield
July 1, 2014
U.S. Law Shield
Why You Should Remain Silent

Dear Pennsylvanians,

In this newsletter, we are going to rejoice in "silence" and the right to remain the same. Why do you invoke the right to remain silent? Why invoke your right not to be questioned without your lawyer present? In a nutshell, the answer to this question is: What you say and do is evidence, what your attorney says is not.

�If I have done nothing wrong, why would I not just want to tell the officers what happened? Only criminals remain silent and talk through their attorneys, right? Lawyers only want my money and do nothing for me, and I was the victim.�

These are all perfectly normal human reactions, especially from those who are personally unacquainted with the criminal justice system. However, anytime someone is under scrutiny from the criminal justice system, by very definition, their freedom and fortune may be at risk. Their right to remain silent could be an integral part of their legal well-being.

You must first realize that any time a firearm is involved in an incident, whether it is fired or not, the police will very likely start with the assumption that a crime has been committed and proceed to process the evidence as such. The police will secure the area, interview witnesses, and look for physical evidence. If your actions are the focus of the investigation, any statement you make will either corroborate what the witnesses and physical evidence show, or it will not. There may be shell casings, ballistics trajectories and/or possibly even video or photographic evidence. If your statement does not perfectly match the evidence, even to the slightest degree, your version of the facts could be viewed differently than you would like and will likely be used against you. If you make no statements concerning the facts of the incident until you speak to your attorney, you eliminate the possibility of allowing an inconsistency, no matter how innocent, to be used against you.

Some of you reading this might be thinking, "That is all very good advice, but this won't happen to me." Well, unfortunately, it can. In one past case under our program, a member who had never been in any trouble with the law was forced to use his gun. Unfortunately, our member, even though he was experiencing massive stress and pressure because he had to fire his gun, gave a statement to the police without consulting us first. The statement included several very specific facts that could not be immediately corroborated by the officer. The result was that this inconsistency resulted in a criminal charge. The lesson here is, after a shooting, speak to your program attorneys before giving a statement to law enforcement!

There is a very simple reason for this - talking cannot help when you are under police investigation. Very few people ever talk themselves out of being arrested. However, many people have talked themselves into jail. Your statements may be completely innocent, but if they conflict in any way with other evidence in the case, even if that evidence is mistaken, mischaracterized, or just plain wrong, you will have a legal issue.

Remember, that if you are involved in a situation where you were forced to use your firearm, you will not be in a proper state of mind to accurately give the police all the facts and only the facts. You may forget an important detail, overstate the situation, say something that cannot be corroborated, or in a worst case scenario, say something that can be proven to be false.
Legal War Story From The Front Line
Why It's Best to Remain Silent in a Situation with Law Enforcement...
In this true member story, talking to the police might have had an adverse effect on our member's defense. For example, if he had described the aggressor's actions even slightly incorrectly, the credibility of his whole story might have been drawn into question:

One unfortunate member had his car break down on the road. When a driver with a short temper pulled up behind him, our member tried to wave him past. Instead, the short-tempered driver started to blare his horn. Our member got out of his car and tried to direct the other driver past him again, who was then giving hand signals to indicate his frustration. The short-tempered driver soon smashed the gas pedal, hitting both our member and our member�s car � seemingly intentionally. He then backed up, and revved his engine for another assault. Injured and in fear for his life, our member pulled out his firearm to try to defend himself. The other driver left, but onlookers called the police and said �there�s a man with a gun on the road.� Our member was incorrectly labeled the problem and charged with disorderly conduct. Only after a lengthy legal nightmare were the charges dismissed. Our member paid zero attorneys� fees.

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