Most people are taught that when a police officer says to do something, we have to cooperate. In the best cases, a police officer will tell you do things like move forward in a traffic snafu or to be careful. Sometimes, however, a police officer will tell you to do something that really isn’t in your best interests. When the police want to interview you and it’s for something other than you being a witness to a car accident or something else you have zero involvement in, it’s crucial you don’t speak to them until you have a criminal lawyer present.
If you have been detained by police, make sure you ask for your attorney right away. If the police officer tells you that you don’t need an attorney or they don’t have to contact one, stay silent. This is not true and is a tactic police sometime attempt to use in order to coax information out of someone they view as a suspect. This is why it’s so important to have your attorney present; they will instruct you on when to answer, how to answer and when you should remain silent.
An experienced lawyer can also help you avoid confessing to police when you are, in fact, innocent. Some people have a hard time believing that an innocent person would ever confess to a crime they didn’t commit, but experienced police officers have experience in making people say just about anything under the right circumstances. An attorney can help you avoid falling for a trick that could lead you to implicate yourself in a crime you had no part in.
In the event that more than one person is brought in for questioning about the same crime, they will likely be put into separate areas for holding and questioning. In this scenario, if one person is intimidated by the police into a confession, both parties could end up in serious trouble. False confessions do happen, often to people who become confused, scared and/or susceptible when they are confronted–and potentially manipulated–by police. One popular tactic among law enforcement officers with multiple suspects is to make it appear to one person involved that another person being questioned has confessed and implicated them, too, but in reality, the other person hasn’t said a thing. This is just one of many ways police officers try to get a confession, and an experienced criminal attorney will be able to see these tactics in action and shut them down.
Whenever you are being interviewed by the police in a negative situation or light, it’s important to have a criminal attorney with you. Without any legal representation, innocent people may end saying things they never meant to say, and this can harm their case and put their freedom at risk. You may think it could never happen to you, but it has happened to plenty of people who thought the same exact way, and it’s simply not a chance worth taking.
Thanks to Richard J. Banta, P.C. for their insight into criminal law and talking to the police.