Never speak to the police without a lawyer! A knock on your front door. A voicemail on your phone. A visit to your mother. A casual conversation at the scene of a crime. All of these can seem like an innocent attempt by an officer to do their job–but they are NOT. Agreeing to speak to the police in these circumstances could be your last conversation before being arrested. For that reason you should never speak to the police without speaking to a lawyer first!
Why would the police want to meet with me?
Because police often lie, there is no way of knowing the answer to this question. Police know if they told you that you are a suspect, you would be more likely to ask for an attorney. This is one of many reasons you should speak with a lawyer first.
What if they say they “just want to talk”?
Again, because police often lie, it shouldn’t matter what they say the reason is. The police may not specifically ask you to admit to a crime, but they could deceive you into telling them where you were at a specific date and time, or telling them you have a relationship with a specific person that they can later use to arrest and prosecute you. If you misremember some detail or answer a question incompletely, they could also arrest you for making a false statement to a law enforcement officer. This is another reason you should speak with a lawyer first.
What if the police say they will arrest me if I refuse to meet with them?
An officer either already has enough evidence to arrest you, or he needs to speak with you to get the information he needs to arrest you. Under both of these scenarios it is in your best interest not to meet with them. In many cases an officer has enough evidence to arrest you and they are hoping you tell them anything to strengthen their case against you. NOTHING you say to an officer will convince them not to arrest you.
But if I am innocent, why wouldn’t I agree to meet with the police?
The police doesn’t always care if you are innocent. According to the Innocence Project, many cases involving wrongful convictions that were overturned by DNA evidence involved some form of a false confession. According to many legal scholars, and documented by Frontline in their 2010 film the Confessions, many of the techniques used by police to accuse and arrest innocent people remain legal. If the police want to talk to you it is very likely they already consider you a suspect and because of their proven track-record of using tunnel-vision to arrest innocent people, it is in your best interest to call a lawyer first.
How can I do this without being rude?
The Awad Legal Team understands it can be hard to refuse to speak to a police officer–in particular one that is polite or intimidating. For that reason we ask our clients to simply ask the officer for their name and number so that you can call them back as soon as you are available. Then you should call a lawyer first!
The police want to talk to my child. Shouldn’t they just tell them the truth?
Absolutely NOT. Never let your child talk to the police without speaking with a lawyer first. Children are the most vulnerable people when it comes to false confessions. Children also face some of the most life-altering consequences for breaking the law. You can teach your child many lessons about life, but never let the criminal court system do it for you. Teach your children to always ask for a lawyer before agreeing to speak to police–even if it is in their school principal’s office. If there is anything you or a child can benefit from for speaking to the police, your attorney is in the best position to make sure you realize that benefit! Never say anything to a cop that says they will help you if you agree to speak to them.
Remember, call a lawyer first!