Sometimes it’s always nice to hear this reminder: you do NOT have to talk to the police. Ever. Aside from giving them your ID or telling them your name, you do not have to answer any of their questions. Whether you have something to hide or you are just uncomfortable speaking to law enforcement, remember that the 5th Amendment grants you the right to remain silent.
Police and the 5th Amendment
The 5th amendment says, in part, that “no person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.” But many times when you are approached by law enforcement, you may not be a “suspect” in the literal terms. Remember, though, that the police are investigating a crime and they are looking for information. Sometimes the most seemingly harmless statements may actually direct attention towards you. Countless criminal cases are “cracked” from the defendant’s own statements. The evidence is there, but nothing directly links the defendant to the crime.
But some people just can’t help themselves and they feel that urge to speak to the police. 9 times out of 10, you are only going to hurt yourself by talking to the police. And while it is possible to later suppress your statement through a motion, it’s a lot harder to undo a statement once it’s been made than if it were never made at all.
Let us Help
At the very least, you should consult with an attorney first. If the police want to ask you some questions and you have an idea of what it’s about, give us a call. Everything you tell us is confidential and protected by attorney-client privilege. We can give you advice as to whether you should make a statement or whether it would be in your best interest to remain silent. And further, we will be with you if you decide to actually make a statement.
Believe me, cops love it when a person of interest voluntarily comes down to the station to make a statement without a lawyer present. Without a lawyer present, the police can use all of their special tactics to convince you to say exactly what they want to hear. But if we are there with you, we won’t let them get away with it. If necessary, we’ll end the interview right there.
So while it’s tempting to always “cooperate” and tell the cops your side of the story, most times it’s not in your best interest. Remember, the police can’t offer “deals” and “lesser charges.” The District Attorney’s office decides on the charges and whether to offer you a sweeter plea deal due to cooperation. Give us a call first and one of our criminal defense attorneys can help guide you towards an informed decision whether to make a statement or not.