Why You Should Never Talk to the Police
Many people see no problem in talking to the police about a crime case, particularly when they have done nothing wrong. While this may seem like a logical course of action to take, talking to the police after you have been stopped or detained is extremely dangerous. In most situations, an individual will only be questioned or detained if the police believe he or she is a viable suspect. Any information you provide, regardless of how innocent it may seem, could be used by law enforcement in conjunction with the prosecuting attorneys to build a case against you. Hiring a criminal defense attorney will help you defend your rights and provide you with the aggressive advocate you need when under suspicion in a criminal case.
Reasons Why Talking to the Police can Damage Your Defense
When an officer tries to coerce information from a detainee or elicit details from an individual about a crime, he or she is doing so with the ultimate goal of making an arrest. If you hope to avoid a wrongful arrest and the very real potential for a conviction, the following are reasons why talking to the police is never advised:
- Attempting to talk your way out of an arrest is pointless. Police hear people profess their innocence all day long. It does not matter whether you are innocent or guilty; if the police have a reason to suspect you may be involved in the commission of a crime, anything you say will be used against you.
- Even if you are guilty, never admit your guilt to a police officer. Hire an attorney and let your attorney negotiate a reduced sentence or a plea bargain deal in exchange for your confession. Leaving yourself no room to negotiate will only guarantee a conviction and harsher penalties. In some instances, your attorney may even be able to find evidence to prove your innocence and obtain a dismissal of all charges. Always retain counsel before making any statements to police, no matter the degree of your involvement in a case.
- Innocent people are not without fault. All it takes is one little white lie, half truth or failure to correctly and exactly recount any previous testimony for your credibility to be in question. If you cannot remember your exact whereabouts or the facts of the situation without error, the arresting officer, prosecuting attorney or court will conclude that you are lying. This could lead to serious consequences, including an arrest and conviction for a crime you didn’t commit.
- Honest people, particularly those who want to do good by trying to assist in a police investigation, can easily find themselves the subject of the investigation if they are not careful. Your innocence or guilt will not necessarily matter – the police want to make an arrest and wrap up the case. If you admit you were near where a crime took place, or say the wrong thing at the wrong time, or act in a manner considered suspicious, it could lead to your arrest and a potential conviction.
- Police officers do not have the authority to offer a lower sentence, leniency or immunity in exchange for a statement or confession. This can only be done by a District or U.S. Attorney. Always, without question, consult with your own attorney before providing any type of statement to the police or allowing a search of your home, office or other location without a warrant.
- One of the most important reasons you should never talk to the police is you may have accidentally committed a crime or been an unwittingly involved in some type of illegal activity. If you provide information to the police about what happened, it could lead to you being arrested for a crime and facing very harsh repercussions, often life changing.
What You Should Do If You Are Pulled Over or Stopped by the Police
It is important you know your legal rights and exercise those rights. As the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) states, you should be willing to provide an officer your name and address when asked. You can also show the police your driver’s license and vehicle registration in the event you are pulled over. Other than that, you are under no legal obligation to answer any questions from police. You do not have to say where you are going or where you have been. You do not need to provide any further information about your activities. Simply ask the officer if you are being detained or arrested (and if so, why). Then politely request to consult with your attorney before answering any more questions.
If you believe you are being investigated by the police, or you have been stopped for questioning, contact Cafferty Law Office, S.C. right away. We offer a free initial consultation in which you can have a skilled Racine criminal defense attorney review your case and advise you on the course of action to take to protect your rights and future freedom.