New Law Mandates Recording of Interviews in All Major Felony Cases

On December 12, 2012, Governor Snyder signed a new law mandating recording of interviews done during the investigation of suspects who are arrested or in custody for a serious felony case. Serious felony cases are cases which carry a maximum sentence of 20 years or more.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“Interrogation” means questioning, words or actions in a criminal investigation that may elicit a self-incriminating response from an individual. The new law applies if the law enforcement agency has audiovisual recording equipment that is operational.

A major felony recording may be made without the consent or knowledge of, or despite the objection of, the individual being interrogated. If a recording is made, it shall be produced using equipment and procedures that are designed to prevent alteration of the recording’s audio or visual record.

If the police fail to properly record a major felony interrogation, any law enforcement official who was present during the taking of the statement can still testify in court as to the circumstances and content of the individual’s statement; however, the jury will be instructed that recording the statement was required by law and that the jury may consider the absence of a recording in evaluating the evidence relating to the individual’s statement.

What should you do if the police want to talk to you?

Most law abiding clients never consider such circumstances since they do not foresee the possibility of ever having problems with the law. Unfortunately, life is not predictable, and some of us may find ourselves in compromising positions where the police will attempt to speak with us. It is almost always in your best interests not to speak with the police until you have first spoken with an attorney.

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Many people who are aware of their rights not to speak to the police, waive their Constitutional rights, because they are afraid of looking guilty or because they think they can explain the situation sufficiently that they will not be charged. The truth of the matter is that if the police are questioning someone, they already have formed a belief and the only thing they are looking for is additional evidence. Anything that does not help the prosecution is ignored and presumed to be a lie.

When you find yourself in need, do not hesitate in exercising your Constitutional rights. Remember, exercising your Constitutional rights under the Fifth Amendment can never be used against you in a criminal case. Thus, if you find yourself in a situation where you don’t want to speak to the police, just tell the police, “I want to speak to my lawyer before I answer any questions. I invoke my right to remain silent.”

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If you or someone you love is suspected of committing a crime, do not wait for a warrant to be issued before you take steps to protect yourself. The best defense to a felony or misdemeanor allegation is a good offense. LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. can frequently intervene in a criminal investigation and either prevent criminal charges or convince law enforcement not to charge all crimes under consideration. Please call (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete a Request for Assistance Form and a seriously experienced criminal defense lawyer will promptly contact you.

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