You should never make any statements, interviews, question and answer sessions (regardless of how formal or informal they may tell you they will be) without first getting advice from your attorney, and nor should you do anything to make the invocation of your right to remain silent. Simply put, never speak to the police, a district attorney, an investigator, or any other individual who represents a law enforcement entity without the advice, counsel, and presence of your attorney. If the police convey to you directly how they are investigating a crime, and they express their desire to speak to you to ask questions related to the matter, you should respond very politely and with respect, but also make very clear and without any equivocation how you have no intention of ever speaking about this matter without your criminal defense lawyer.
What You Say to Police Can Be Used Against You:
Over and over again, you can hear cops on TV telling people that anything they say can and will be used against them in a court of law. This is absolutely accurate. Take heed of this advice and keep quiet.
Keep in mind, this simple advice may seem easy in theory but it may not prove so easy in practice. Police are schooled in interrogation techniques. Some cops are artists at figuring out ways to get suspects to make statements that they consider to be confessions. A common scenario for why it is good practice to say as little as possible during police encounters would be during routine DWI investigations after one has been stopped in their vehicle. The state has to prove every element of the criminal charge beyond a reasonable doubt. Often, they may fail to be able to do so even with what seem to be very common or routine elements. For example, charges of Driving While Intoxicated in Texas requires the element (among others) of the state actually proving an individual was “operating” a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated. Many times, they can’t prove that the person was operating the motor vehicle without their own admission after being asked what seem to be very benign questions by the police officer investigating the incident. Often, a police officer who is dispatched to investigate a possible individual for a charge of DWI will arrive after the fact, perhaps when the person is not even driving. In most scenarios where this occurs, almost all people usually just admit to the element of the operation. The officer asks what seem to be routine questions such as “where were you going? Where were you coming from?” Usually, people respond to this question, but by doing so they are implicitly admitting to the “operation” of the vehicle. If they instead do not answer ANY questions posed to them, it is possible the state might not be able to prove an element of the offense in order to gain a conviction.
Another situation exists when an individual may receive a call from a police officer claiming they are investigating a crime and want them to come down to the station and answer just a few “routine questions.” Even if you’re not guilty of whatever they are investigating a person for, usually they already have made the determination of if they will arrest, so complying with their request is absolutely futile. All one would be doing, in essence, is providing the police with further ammunition to possibly use as evidence later in court.
When a person does comply with the request, it is usually because they want the opportunity to try and explain to the police officer what the factual scenario was, perhaps in the hope they can talk their way out of it, or make them understand it from their own point of view. Regardless, if this situation presents itself – one will only be making it worse for them, as the investigating police officer usually is only seeking to just verify whatever information he already suspects and to hopefully gain more. Even very benign and simple statements that do not seem important may lead to an admission of some element of whatever crime they are investigating, such as admitting you were in the place where the crime occurred. It is possible that this is something they may not have been able to prove otherwise but for the admission of you admitting to being at or near the scene of the alleged incident or crime. Police officers to not write the details of the facts in a manner that is in the person’s favor giving the statement, or even in the way you may actually be telling them when explaining whatever may have occurred. Instead, they will undoubtedly write it in a narrative fashion in a manner and form of how best to prove whatever the charges may be alleged against the person. A statement such as “I went to his house to pick her up and we went to go see a movie.” The police report will instead write something to the effect of “the suspect admitted to being on the premises.” Simply put, there is no winning, and one should avoid giving any statements to the police. Often people do so and are urging to explain their side of the events, but almost without fail this will not yield the desired results, and in all likelihood will somehow hurt their case and chance of obtaining a favorable result later in court.
Police Will Try to Trick You Into Talking
For decades, my partner and I have watched interrogation videos in awe. Even extremely intelligent people make the mistake of talking with the police.
Believe it or not, even some of the best criminal defense attorneys have made the mistake of talking to the police, figuring that if they could just explain their side of things, the officer would let them go.
No matter how nice that a police officer may seem, you must assume that they are trying to get information with which they can convict you. Do not fall for the nice guy routine. Remember, the courts have repeatedly held that the police have the right to lie. The only thing you need to say is that you want your lawyer.
Police May Try to Bully You Into Talking
Not all police interrogations are friendly question and answer sessions. Some can be downright hostile. But one thing remains the same. There is not one single thing that you need to discuss your case with the police or anyone else, for that matter, with the exception of your lawyer.
Even if you find yourself in a raw interrogation that feels like you have no choice but to answer the officer’s questions, you should still politely decline and say in no equivocal terms, “I want my lawyer.”