Interviewer: What are some of the top misconceptions people have about being arrested for a crime when they speak to you about their case?
Paul Tafelski: I think one misconception is that if the person has avoided trouble their entire life and has a job and has a family that the court will automatically treat them differently and treat them better. At first, I think some people expect to get more respect from the court then they do because of the fact that they haven’t been in trouble. The court simply processes these charges and it’s really becomes the function of defense and a processes of defending yourself to be able to demonstrate and convince the court that you are somebody that deserves a break and who deserves the courts respect because they won’t automatically give it to you.
Common Ways People Incriminate Themselves and Hurt Their Chances at a Strong Defense
Interviewer: What are some of the common ways that they unintentionally incriminate themselves or hurt their pending case both before and after they’ve been arrested?
Paul Tafelski: Before they’ve been arrested the most common way they incriminate themselves is simply by admitting something to the police or turning over. For example, drugs or evidence to the police with the hope and thinking that the police will give them a break for being honest. When 20 years ago that may have been the case but now-a-days most of the time the police will simply use that evidence against you and arrest you and prosecute you because most things are being video tapped and recorded and they’re fearful for their own jobs.
Their discretion has been largely taken away from them so they simply have to arrest you. That’s for sure the most common way people screw up their own cases by volunteering evidence against themselves in the hopes that it won’t be used against them.
Chances of Receiving Publicity after Being Arrested for a Crime
Interviewer: How public will a person’s situation be after they are arrested? Will that person’s work find out?
Paul Tafelski: Most of the counties and communities in metro Detroit don’t publish these names and arrests in the local papers but everything is public record and someone could go to the courthouse and see these records if they wanted to. Fortunately, for most people, nobody knows to do that and nobody has any reason to go do that and try to dig up dirt on people. For the most part things stay pretty private.