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Silence Is Golden, Handcuffs Are Silver

Dale Gribow Dec. 7, 2014

As a general rule talking to anyone, other than your lawyer, on any legal matter cannot help a case. It can only POTENTIALLY HURT the case and handcuff you. It is not always what you say, but often what the other party thought they heard you say. This is as true for a DUI as it is for an Accident case or a business negotiation.

If stopped for a DUI, politely advise the officer you would be happy to talk and do anything he wants. However your attorney asked you to remain Silent and not talk without his permission. Ask the officer to contact attorney Dale Gribow 760-565-0533 for my permission to speak with you.

They won't call me, but it gives you an excuse for remaining silent and makes ME the bad guy and not you. If a lawyer represents a client properly, the lawyer should always be the "strawman" and always take the fall for the client.

Courteously tell the officer your attorney advised you that the scene voluntary Field Sobriety Test (FST) is Optional and thus you OPT not to take the FST (walk the line, finger to nose and alphabet etc.). Then explain your attorney said the "at the scene" Breath test is optional (unless on probation) and you Elect not to take it.

Courteous explain you want to cooperate and would be happy to take a Blood Test. Of course they will arrest you since they do not have evidence you were not under the influence but as a rule if they stop you and have you take tests they are going to arrest you anyway.

Not only should you not talk to anyone other than your lawyer but you should not post anything on social media until the legal matter is concluded. Remember law enforcement officers, prosecutors and insurance adjuster are Not your friends. They are doing their job and making a case...and their latest trick is to check your FB page etc. to look for incriminating evidence.

With an accident case it is even truer that you should not talk to the insurance company adjuster about how the accident happened and/or what injuries you have sustained. Whatever you tell them can be used to impeach you later at trial. It is very common for an adjuster to misunderstand what you said or for one adjuster to write in his/her notes what you said and for someone else to misread it.

In the alternative if I tell the adjuster I can always explain that I must have misunderstood what you said and apologize. Again I take the heat and you do not testify inconsistently and get impeached at trial. A good lawyer has to always PROTECT his client.

On a recent case my client went to his own doctor, contrary to my suggestion. He told his doctor he was in an auto accident and hit his head. The nurse copied the notes and prepared the outline of the medical report thinking the notes said he fell down and hit his head on a rock. The doctor's report listed the rock explanation and the doctor refused to correct the error, when the patient or I called.

To address this potential issue, I ask my clients to prepare a detailed summary of the facts of the accident and a summary of their injuries from the top of their head to the bottom of their toes as to what is hurting.

I review my client's notes so I can assist in placing the injuries in an order that will maximize the insurance company's offer. For instance there could be a difference in settlement value with a med report that states the patient stubbed his toe, had a scrape on his shin, had headaches and a broken shoulder vs leading with the broken shoulder first.

After my review, my client gives the medical issues summary to each medical provider. That way there is continuity of all injury complaints, with each medical provider. Now the insurance company defense lawyer cannot later argue that my client did not have a specific injury when he saw Dr. X because he did not mention it to that specific doctor. Each doctor should have the same summary in their file. The bottom line is you should remain Silent and not talk to anyone without your lawyer's permission.

Remember Silence is Golden but talking "might" lead to Silver Handcuffs for perjury, or admitting to an issue the other side needed to prove.