You were probably taught as a child that honesty is the best policy. A criminal defense attorney’s take might be that you should never lie to the police but you should always exercise your right to remain silent. Being forthcoming with officers about what laws you have broken might seem like it will help them understand your point of view, but it will only get you charged.
Consider the case of a Harrisburg man who was recently arrested by State College police. A hotel employee called police after the 32-year-old man was allegedly disorderly in the lobby. Upon being contacted by officers, the men went ahead and made their case for them.
Police say the man had abrasions and blood on his hands. When asked about it, he told the police he’d had a fight with his girlfriend.
He allegedly went on to say he had smoked marijuana and had been drinking Crown Royal “all day.”
Next, the officers say the man pulled what seemed to be a drug pipe from his pocket and said, “Here is something you can arrest me for.”
The police searched the hotel room and found that items “appeared to be thrown all over the floor as if someone had a fit of rage and began damaging property.”
In the wreckage, the officers found a broken mirror and blood stains on the bed, furniture and walls. They also discovered hash oil and two bags of marijuana. The Centre Daily Times did not mention the location or condition of the girlfriend.
Then, a warrant search came back positive for the Harrisburg man. However, when the officers pulled out handcuffs in preparation to arrest him, the man began to head for the front door of the hotel.
The man also refused to be evaluated for alcohol overdose or drug abuse and resisted being put on a gurney. The officers physically picked up the man and sedated him — how or why is not explained — and had him transported to Mount Nittany Medical Center.
Now, the Harrisburg man is facing a litany of charges: resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, criminal mischief, public drunkenness, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. His bail was $25,000 and he was unable to meet it. He will therefore be held in the Centre County Correctional Facility until his preliminary hearing on May 30.
The police are not on your side, and being upfront and honest will not make them so. There are no guarantees, but one cannot help but think that if the man had only remained silent from the beginning, he might have avoided a search of his hotel room and could be free today.