I’ve had many clients – including several innocent people – get themselves into trouble by talking with the police. If you’re a suspect, there’s almost never a good reason to agree to a police interview. You’re never going to talk your way out of a charge. At best, you’ll give the police more fodder for the report. At worst, your “conversation” can turn into an admission to a crime you didn’t commit. I can’t think of a time when a client has read a police report and agreed that it accurately reflects their statements to the police. The statements are misconstrued, taken out of context, or even made up.
Should I talk to the police?
If you’re accused of a crime, then no. You have a right to have an attorney present for a reason. Use it. In some jurisdictions, it’s not enough to simply remain silent; you also have to state that you’re “not answering any questions without an attorney present,” or words to that effect.
Oftentimes, it’s the innocent clients who get themselves into trouble. They think, “how can it hurt, I didn’t do anything wrong.” How wrong they are. If the police suspect you, and then you admit to being at the scene of the crime, or with the wrong person, or even that you don’t have an alibi, your statements could give the police the missing piece to charging you with a crime.
But won’t I look guilty if I get a lawyer?
Fair question. And perhaps yes. But it doesn’t matter. If you’re a suspect, then you alreadylook guilty to the police. Having a lawyer will put the police on notice that you aren’t going to allow them to violate your rights. Plus, they can’t use the fact that you have an attorney against you. That fact would never be allowed to be presented to a jury. You better believe that if a police officer is charged with a crime, they’re going to hire a defense attorney.
What can a defense attorney do for me during a police investigation?
Having a defense attorney during the investigation stage is kind of like an insurance policy. Sometimes, I’m just there to make contact with the police, gain information, and provide my clients with as-needed advice. Other times, I have been able to communicate with the police and avoid criminal charges altogether. Every case is different, so don’t take any of this as legal advice. If you’re being investigated for committing a crime, contact a criminal defense attorney for assistance.