Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Dos and Don'ts of Talking With The Police, Or Just The Don'ts

As a child and even as an adult can you picture times when you have tried to talk
yourself out of a situation? I can remember when I was in the second grade and
brought something of my mom's to school for show-and-tell. It ended up falling off my
desk and breaking. Of course, I wanted to blame it on the kid that walked by and
accidentally hit it with his sleeve.

Can you imagine the police interrogation - "Why did you bring a breakable to school?
Why not choose another item? Where on your desk did you have it? Those desks are
small, right? Why didn't you put it in the middle of the desk? Oh, you were writing. So
you weren't even paying attention to the statute? You didn't actually see the sleeve hit
it, did you? When you were writing in your notebook you could have knocked the
statute to the ground when you moved your notebook, isn't that correct?" BUT I DIDN'T
DO IT - is not going to cut it.

Then the police officer writes up the report which goes to the Orange County District
Attorney's office for the filing of criminal charges. I arrested the suspect for (drugs,
assault, theft, etc) when it became clear that the suspect was evasive in her answers
and had no proof that anyone else was responsible as only her fingerprints were on the
item. She said she did not do it, but after questioning her it was clear that she was
involved. The police report will not be written in your favor. The police have accused
you...and everyone likes to be right.

The correct way to handle this situation is to be cooperative and polite, but request to
speak to an attorney. Regardless, of your innocence or guilt, regardless of the types of
questions or number of questions, the response should be the same, (repeat after me)
"I want to speak to an attorney".

If you have not been arrested, but have been contacted by the police through a phone
call or a business card left at your door, you need to call a criminal defense attorney
immediately. An attorney can make the contact for you; find out what you are being
accused of; find out if there is a warrant out for your arrest and, if so, have a bail bond
set up while negotiating your surrender. This will save you an enormous amount of
stress and embarrassment.

Most importantly, it will eliminate the police report containing the officers harmful
interpretations and impressions. Your statements will be used against you in a court of
law. You have the right to remain silent - use it.

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