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How do guilty people act?

Getting accused of a crime is stressful. This stress can make you act nervous and guilty, whether you really are guilty or not. That, in turn, can lead you to make mistakes that incriminate yourself or at least make your situation worse.

As some are fond of saying, the cover-up often leads to more mistakes than the crime. A lot of people get arrested because they commit secondary crimes or make themselves appear guilty when trying to do just the opposite. You need to be very careful with what you say and how you act.

So, how do guilty people act? Here are a few common signs:

1. They seem nervous in the face of hypothetical questions

Someone may not directly accuse you of a crime, but they bring it up around you. They ask you hypothetical questions about what may have happened. Instead of calmly considering the question, you try to dodge it, you can't look them in the eye and you suddenly act too nervous. When this happens, it no longer matters what you say. They already think that you're guilty based on your body language alone. You could have a solid alibi and still give them the impression that you did something wrong.

2. They react to any type of investigation

Maybe someone believes that you have evidence in your home. Police officers love to show up unannounced, knock on the door and ask to come in.

What you should do is politely talk to them and explain your position. Remember that they don't have a right to enter without a warrant and be prepared to defend that right.

What you shouldn't do is get angry, react emotionally or attempt to flee from the officers. All of this makes you appear guilty. In fact, some things that you say or do could give them an excuse to enter the home or the evidence they need to get a warrant. If you are more careful with how you act, your rights can protect you.

3. They fall for the bait

Police may try to get you to commit the same type of crime again by baiting you. They can't tell you to do it -- that would be entrapment -- but they can give you the opportunity. For instance, when looking for car thieves, they sometimes put out a bait car. They don't tell the thieves to take it, but they put it in a likely spot and watch it to see who reacts.

They can do the same thing with white collar crime, and a guilty person may react far differently than an innocent person.

Your rights

As you can see from these examples, you must be careful with how you act and the impression you give. You also need to know your rights and defense options, especially if those rights have been violated through entrapment, an illegal search or something of this nature.

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