I have been contacted by a police officer who wants to talk to me about a crime
***Each situation is entirely unique. Do not rely on the information in this post to make a decision concerning your particular case. Please call our attorneys if you would like to discuss your situation***
Things you say may come back to haunt you
Criminal defense attorneys almost universally recommend: Do not talk to anyone—but an attorney that represents you—about your case or legal situation. This is because, the vast majority of times, people will make statements or admissions that invariably can be used against them in some way. You would be surprised with how many times the police have no case at all until the person starts speaking.
I didn't say that!
Oftentimes a person charged with a crime will come to our office for a consultation and while reviewing the police report say, "I never said that! He's twisting my words!" It is rare for the police to audio record a statement. Most of the time they will paraphrase what was said. And sometimes when words are paraphrased they are taken out of context or twisted. It can be very difficult to prove what you actually said, and the officer will likely stick to what he wrote down in the police report.
Have an attorney review your statement
The best possible way to avoid this scenario is to not speak at all. If you would like to make a statement, first have a criminal defense attorney review your situation, and the statement, to determine if it is in your best interest to take it to the police.
But I work for the officer!
But what if the police officer says that he will work with me, or have my charges dropped? This is extremely dangerous because the state attorney and the state attorney alone, NOT the police officer, has the ability to drop a case. There are situations where the officer will call a state attorney and advise the state attorney as to the defendant's cooperation, but it is still up to the state attorney to ultimately drop the charges. Remember, the law actually says that the police can lie to a defendant in order to elicit information. It is always best to have a criminal defense attorney on your side to ensure that you are protected.
Invoke your right to remain silent!
So what can I do if police start questioning me? If you say, "I would like to speak to an attorney" law enforcement is supposed to stop questioning you and allow you to speak to an attorney. What you are legally doing by saying these words when you are being questioned by the police and are not free to leave, is to evoke your Miranda rights.
Call Soler & Simon at (941) 444-5128 to speak to an attorney about your case.
We help people with criminal issues in Sarasota and Manatee counties. Please visit our Criminal Defense page to learn how we can help you and how our lawyers fight criminal cases.