How To Talk With The Police About Criminal Accusations

Posted on: 20 November 2019

Accusations of criminal conduct can leave you feeling a strong need to defend yourself. The police know this, and they often try to take advantage of it during the investigative process. If the cops are trying to talk with you about a matter, here are three things you should know.

Get a Criminal Lawyer

You have the right to have a criminal defense lawyer present whenever you speak with the police. Assert that right and insist upon waiting for your attorney to show up before you say anything.

This applies even if the police tell you they just need you as a witness. It's better to seek counsel out of an overabundance of caution than it is to risk getting caught up in something. Witnesses can and do become suspects in cases. Likewise, a genuine witness might still end up facing criminal charges if the police felt they weren't completely forthcoming or outright lied.

About Lying

Don't do it. No matter how clever you think you might be in handling the situation, never lie to the police. Plenty of folks never end up being tried for specific crimes but get charged with obstruction of justice instead. When in doubt, shut your mouth rather than chancing a misrepresentation that could be held against you in court. The cops might not like this attitude, but it's not your job to do their job for them.

It's also worth noting that police officers have the right to lie to people during interviews. According to a 2012 Supreme Court ruling, cops can falsely state many things, including claiming things like they have evidence tying you to a crime scene. Regardless of what the police say, hold your ground and maintain your defense. If they have evidence, your criminal lawyer will eventually have the right to demand they produce it if they take the matter to court.

Avoid Talking Unnecessarily

While the police have to stop questioning you once you've asserted your right to remain silent, they are allowed to pick up on small conversation threads. For example, suppose you're sitting in a police station waiting for your criminal defense lawyer to show up. A cop asks you if you want some water, and the two of you start chatting. If you bring up the topic of the case, they can follow up on it.

If you catch yourself getting chatty, just stop. Reassert your right to remain silent and wait for your attorney.

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