One of the most frequent questions I get asked as a criminal defense attorney is if the police contact me and want to interview me regarding a case, should I talk to the police? In most cases the answer is no.
The Constitution in this Country gives us certain rights which protect us from overbearing or aggressive police and government agents. The most important of these rights is the 5th Amendment right against self incrimination which affords us with the protection against police forcing us to become a witness against ourselves in any criminal investigation.
This right is your best defense against police who seek to interview you or question you about a crime.
How do you assert this right? The best way to deal with this is allow an attorney to act on your behalf to contact the police and advise them you are asserting your right to remain silent. If you cannot afford a lawyer tell the police you want a public defender. In no case should you try to speak with the police and try to “talk your way out of it”. Cops are much more experienced than you in dealing with people and getting them to make incriminating statements. The fact is that even if you deny involvement in a case it could come back to haunt you later if there is evidence to contradict your statements and then your credibility is shot if you have to testify down the road in Court.
Why is is a bad idea to talk to the police if you are the suspect in a criminal case? Over the last three decades there have been an uptick in the number of wrongful convictions due to false and coerced confessions, these cases have served to shine a bright line on the reliability of the criminal justice system. From these known miscarriages of justice, a surprisingly high percentage of cases illustrated that innocent people sometimes confess to crimes they did not commit, even heinous ones such as murder and rape. False confessions account for up to 28% of identified wrongful convictions though the problem may be even greater than known.
In large part, false confessions stem from coercive and improper police interrogation techniques. To be sure, some false confessions are purely voluntary in that they are not induced via the police interrogation process. The most prudent option is to avoid any and all police interviews.
Be smart, hire a lawyer as soon as possible.
I contacted you last week about an officer had been trying to get a hold of me last week for a statement. Today I received another call from him and he said that if he doesn’t here from me this week he is going to file a warrant for my arrest. Looks like I’m going to need your help. Thanks