(…stolen shamelessly from somewhere on the web)
I was recently contacted by the Police.
They want me to come in to the precinct to talk to them. What should I do?
So you got home from work today and there’s a Detective’s business card under your door. You call the number on the card. He tells you he’d like you to come in and talk to him. What should you do?
Call your lawyer, that’s what.
When the police want to chat, you most likely won’t be coming home from the precinct that day. You are going to be arrested.
No, you can’t talk them out of it. The police have already made their decision.
No, they won’t listen to your side of the story and change their minds. The other side already convinced them to arrest you.
No, they don’t care that you would never do something like that. That you have a good job. That you’re college educated. That you support your elderly parents, your five kids and your wife.
The police don’t care that you’re a really nice guy.
They don’t even care that you weren’t even there.
So what do you do when the police want to talk to you? Call your lawyer first.
But don’t take my word for it. Call that Detective with the business card and ask him what’s going on. He’ll tell you something like this: “We need to straighten this out.” “I need to hear your side of the story.” “I need to see you in person.”
Here’s what he won’t say: “You’re going to be arrested for a major felony.” “Pack your toothbrush.” “You won’t be going home for a while.”
Why? Because then you wouldn’t go see him, would you? Then he would have to come looking for you, which is a lot harder.
Call your lawyer.
No one is suggesting you should run from the police. That only causes more problems. But you cannot walk into that police precinct by yourself. If you go in with a friend or family member, the police will make them wait in the lobby for you. A few hours later, the officer at the front desk will tell your friend or family member that they can see you in court the next morning. Or at visiting hour at the jail after that.
So who should you call when the police are looking for you? Your lawyer.
And who should go with you to see the police? Your lawyer.
Why? Because your lawyer can call the Detective and find out what’s going on. The police will usually talk to us. We can find out if they are planning to arrest you or if you really are just a witness. We can find out if they really want to “hear your side of the story” or if that was just a lame ruse to get you to turn yourself in.
Your lawyer can sit with you and the police when you’re being interviewed. Your lawyer can tell you what questions to answer and what questions not to answer (in other words, when to shut up).
Realize this: If you’re not the victim of a crime, the police are not here to help you. And the law says that they can lie to you. As much as they want. If it gets you to confess. So, if you’re not the victim of a crime, if the police ask you to come in to chat, you can’t trust a thing they say.
The police are very good at using what you say against you. By instinct, most people want to please the police when they talk to them, which often makes them say things they think the police want to hear. Sometimes, those things aren’t exactly true. But they become part of your statement, and your statement can–and will–be used against you. That can’t happen if you have a lawyer with you. The police can’t get a confession from you if they can’t get you to say what they want to hear.
NO, bringing a lawyer with you to see the police does not make you look more guilty. And who cares if it does? They were planning to arrest you anyway. Bringing a lawyer with you may be the only way you are going to go home tonight.
If you were wrong, if you really were just a witness, then consider it an insurance policy.
And if you do get arrested, the police and prosecutors have a lot less to work with down the line when it comes to proving you guilty in court.
So don’t call that Detective first. Call your lawyer.