Criminal defense attorneys are generally hired after someone is arrested and charged with a crime. But if someone is receiving phone calls from police or is under investigation for a crime, a lawyer may be able to prevent arrests or charges before they happen.
If you suspect you could be in trouble or if you feel as if a police officer is being accusatory, there are steps you can take to protect your rights.
Whenever a police officer questions someone, an explanation of rights and obligations is required. There are different rules for each situation.
When police begin calling someone at home or work asking for answers to a few questions, it usually means they think the person is connected to a crime. You may think that it is better to explain to them how you had nothing to do with the situation and explain your way out of it. You may think they are just calling you for help since you aren’t the criminal. You would likely be wrong. There are two main reasons why the police want to talk to you:
Police don’t generally call people for friendly chats; when they do, their goal is to validate suspicions and ultimately to make arrests. Anyone under suspicion of a crime has no obligation to speak to police. “You have the right to remain silent” isn’t a meaningless expression – it’s really a right. In fact, rights in dealing with cops are so important they are almost half of the Bill of Rights, amendments 4, 5, 6, and 8[i]. You should use these rights. None of the above types of encounters should happen without a lawyer present, and in most situations no lawyer will advise you to make a statement even with them present.
It’s impossible to know what the police intend to gain from a round of questioning. You don’t know what evidence they already have and how they will try and make that evidence work against you.
The following are just a few of the many things that could go wrong.
Supreme Court Justice (and former Nuremberg Prosecutor) Robert Jackson wrote, “Any lawyer worth his salt will tell the suspect in no uncertain terms to make no statement to the police under any circumstances.” Watts v. Indiana, 338 US 49 (1949)[ii]
If you want to discuss a potential issue you are dealing with, give us a call at 888-888-8980.
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