Generally, you should contact an attorney as soon as you are accused of a crime. Many people think this makes them seem guilty; however, this is merely a shield between you and the police to avoid being coerced into saying something false and incriminating. It’s important to know your rights when the police question you.
Additionally, it is usually a good idea to remain silent and not give the police any reason to press charges, regardless of whether they tell you that remaining silent and asking for an attorney makes you look guilty. If the police tell you they want to talk to you, it means that you are in a pre-charge phase of the criminal case, and this is the best time to hire an attorney and get ahead of the charges.
The Police Told Me I’m Not Under Arrest
Generally, the police will ask a suspect to come to the station to talk even if they do not have enough evidence to arrest the suspect. When someone is voluntarily talking to the police, they still have the right to an attorney and should get one because the police don’t usually talk to people for fun, they have a reason, and unless you were a witness to a crime, you are likely the suspect of one.
Should You Answer Questions By Law Enforcement Officers
Typically, only a judge can require someone to answer questions. However, there are two exceptions to a defendant’s right to remain silent, which include: (1) you must give law enforcement your name if you are asked to identify yourself, and (2) if you are pulled over for a traffic violation, an officer can require you to show your license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance.
Police Officers Can Lie
It is important to understand that when police question you they are allowed to lie to a defendant to get them to tell the truth. They cannot coerce a confession; however, there is a fine line in which a lie may make someone feel trapped into telling the police what they want to hear. This is never a good idea and one of the reasons you should always contact an attorney before speaking to the police.
Officers will tell a common lie that there is a witness or that another suspect confessed and implicated you in the crime. Some people who hear that their friends confessed to crimes even if they themselves are not guilty may make them feel like they have no choice but to enter a deal.
What If The Officers Tell Me They Will Subpoena Me?
In some cases, law enforcement officers will tell suspects that they will have them subpoenaed if they do not start talking. While a court can require someone to provide information or face jail time, law enforcement officers generally cannot. If a police officer threatens to subpoena you, you still are not required to answer their questions, as these are threats. Once the officers get the subpoena, you must follow its directions about when and where to report to the court. During the court hearing, the person who has received the subpoena is required to answer the questions that the judge asks, or they may be held in contempt of court and receive a jail sentence.
Hiring A Criminal Defense Attorney Before Speaking To Police
Once you are stopped by the police and they begin to ask you questions, you should contact an attorney. Getting an attorney early in the process will help protect you from making crucial mistakes. An experienced attorney will be proactive in protecting their clients’ rights, ensuring that the police are making a valid case against the suspect and not that the suspect is making the case against themselves.
Unfortunately, the police tend to stop doing heavy investigative work once they believe they have the correct suspect in custody, even if they are wrong. Knowing this, an attorney may take necessary measures to secure evidence that the police officers either failed to or have not yet located. Additionally, an experienced attorney will generally begin interviewing witnesses while everything is fresh to ensure that no details are missed.
Another reason to have an attorney while you are a suspect is during a lineup. You generally want your attorney present to ensure that the police officers do not make any suggestive comments to get the witness to identify the suspect they want. Hiring an attorney at the forefront of a case, especially in the pre-charge phase, will benefit a suspect because they are meant to protect their client from being wrongly prosecuted. The attorneys at George Law are highly experienced criminal defense attorneys who will review the facts of the case and figure out how to best help their clients avoid prosecution if possible. To talk to an experienced attorney, contact us at George Law by calling 248-247-7459 or by filling out an online form, and one of our attorneys will contact you.