A lot of Georgia citizens do not know the following little piece of information.  Let’s say the cops are investigating a crime.  And, let’s say that they focus on you as a suspect.  If they call you to the police department for an interview….DON’T DO IT!  Here is why. What the cops in Georgia are allowed to do is to call you down to the police station for an interview if you are suspected of committing a crime.  Even if the cop believes you committed the crime and even if the cop intends to arrest you soon, if you voluntarily go to the police station and allow yourself to be interviewed, so long as you are not placed under formal arrest, then anything you say during that interview can be used against you in a court of law, even without Miranda warnings having been given to you.

That is the trick that is often used these days by cops when they are investigating crime.  To prevent you from “lawyering up”, the cop will pretend that he or she just wants to talk to you to further the investigation.  The interview may or may not be recorded and then the cop will let you leave.  However, just a day or so down the road, they’ll arrest you on an arrest warrant.  And, guess what they have now to prosecute you with?  Your own damn statement, often made without Miranda warnings.

A real problem with such law enforcement trickery is that the cop, during that interview might use a trick question or two.  A trick question is like, “Do you still beat your wife?”

Think about that question.  Can you answer it without incriminating yourself?  The answer is absolutely not.  If you answer “yes”, then you’ve admitted you still beat your wife.  If you answer “no”, then you’ve implicitly stated that you used to beat your wife, which may or may not be true.  Either way, you’ve just made a statement that incriminates you, when, in fact, you may have never beat your wife, which would be the truth.  But, try explaining the nuances of that sort of verbal trickery to a brainwashed, brain-dead Georgia jury that is inclined to convict a criminal defendant from start to finish of the trial.

Don’t get set up by the cops.  Don’t talk to the cops if you are a suspect in a crime.  The most powerful word in the English langauge is “no”.  Use it!  If the cops call you down to the station for an interview, it is time to talk to your attorney before you do anything.  In my experience, very few cops are trying to be objective at the point in time when they speak to a suspect during an investigation.  By the time they speak to the suspect, they’ve already made up their mind about the suspect’s guilt and they are only seeking information with which to convict the suspect.   You are being very foolish if you are a suspect and if you go in to speak to a cop and if you expect that officer to be objective and open-minded as he or she questions you about the crime and listens to your responses.

So, refuse to talk to the cops, but always be respectful when you are doing so.  The bottom line though is that you must protect your rights.  Don’t let the cops trick you.

Be aware, under Georgia law, it is okay for the cops to trick you into making incriminating statements while they interview you.   However, if you lie to the cops, it is a felony.  You are not in a good position any time that you are interacting with a law enforcement officer, so make use of a good defense attorney if you find yourself being asked for an interview by a law enforcement officer.

People need to be aware that you do not pick up the phone and dial 911 unless you mean it.  Be aware that if you are having a fuss with your spouse or significant other and you pick up the phone and dial 911, then hang up, without speaking to anyone, the police are still going to be at your door in minutes.  The law enforcement dispatcher locates the address of any 911 call and dispatches the law to that address whether or not he or she speaks to anyone calling in.  Hence, if you’re fussing and one of you calls 911, be ready for one of you to be hauled off to jail!  Don’t call 911 if you’re not serious.

A lot of citizens do not know that they can lose their right to purchase, carry, or own a gun if they are convicted of a crime that involves family violence.  That’s right, let’s say you get into a spat with your wife, you push her away while she’s in your face, and she falls down and gets scratched.  The police show up and arrest you.  Incidents like this happen every day.

Well, you end up in the State Court of Houston County, Ga., looking at a battery (family violence) charge.  You’re offered a plea bargain that involves a conviction for family violence battery, a minimal fine and a term of probation, no jail time.  You take it and you think it’s a fair disposition.

Then, you want to buy your next hunting rifle.  Forget it!  That conviction will be picked up by the feds upon your background check and under federal law you’ll be denied the right to buy that firearm.  In fact, that conviction just made it illegal for you to own or possess, or purchase any firearm for the rest of your life.  You can’t even be a law enforcement officer or a member of the military for the rest of your life.  Be very careful how you handle any criminal charge that is designated as involving family violence if you care about your Second Amendment rights.  Never forget that you can lose your Second Amendment rights if you are convicted for family violence battery.

At the inception of a criminal prosecution, sometimes the prosecuting authority will offer the suspect the opportunity to take a polygraph exam to “help eliminate them as a suspect”.  Don’t do it!  This can’t be stated strongly enough.  Even though the results of a poygraph exam cannot be used against the suspect in court, admissions and confessions made during the polygraph exam or during the lead-up to the polygraph exam can be.  The result of this little distinction is that the state’s prosecutors will set up the suspect’s polygraph exam with one of their polygraphers in charge.  The state’s polygrapher will begin to ask preliminary questions of the suspect, while on videotape, prior to beginning the polygraph exam.  These preliminary questions are ostensibly to allow the polygrapher to establish a background so that the polygrapher can best frame his or her questions during the examination.  But, what the polygrapher will really do is stray into areas during this examination where he or she will start attempting to elicit incriminating reponses from the suspect.  Once the polygrapher senses that he or she may have elicited an incriminating response, they’ll push on, seeking to obtain further incriminating admissions and, ultimately, a confession.  Don’t forget, the admissions and a confession, can be used by the prosecution in court!  Often the polygrapher will not even end up administering the polygraph exam, but will terminate the interview after eliciting the incriminating statements, or confession, or both.

So, the state administered polygraph exam is, in reality, a sham.  It is nothing more than an opportunity for the state’s polygrapher to examine the suspect and obtain incriminating information.  You can bet it is not a good faith effort to allow the suspect to “clear his name”.