Don’t Talk to The Police Without Your Lawyer—Even if You’ve Done Nothing Wrong!

If you’ve been brought to the police station, arrested for a crime you didn’t commit, it’s tempting to talk to the police. In your mind, you might think, “If I can just explain my story and what actually happened, then they’ll know I’m not guilty.” However, this is an instinct that you will need to ignore. It is absolutely in your best interest to talk with a criminal defense lawyer first and have them present when you talk to the police. While this might seem counterintuitive, here are three reasons why you should stay silent if you don’t have your lawyer present.

1. It could land you in hotter water.

What could start as you explaining how you didn’t commit crime A could actually end up with you inadvertently admitting to committing crime B. This happens more often than you’d think. If this is the case, your lawyer will be able to catch your mistake before you hurt your case even more.

Even if your lawyer is aware of your situation, don’t speak to the police if your lawyer is not there yet. Your words can be used against you, whether that’s through misunderstanding or manipulation. More often than not, police have their own agenda when it comes to investigating a crime. The words you speak to them will be filtered through that police agenda, and may not be taken down or described in a police report in the manner which you intended.

Having your lawyer present when you speak with law enforcement will also enable them to take notes, which can later be used to controvert the police version of your statement if it is memorialized inaccurately.

2. You could inadvertently supply evidence against yourself—even if you’re innocent.

You have to understand that the other side is looking for someone to convict for a crime. Once you understand this, you’ll understand what that sentence means. For example, if you admit that you were at a certain place at a certain time, you might put yourself at the scene of a crime.

Now, telling the police that you picked up your dry cleaning after work doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. However, if there happened to be a shooting along the route you take from work to your dry cleaner’s at the approximate time that you’re driving that route, you could get in trouble. By having your lawyer with you, he or she can anticipate the motive of the question and ensure that you don’t provide any information that might implicate you in a crime.

3. You might slightly exaggerate or omit things when talking to the police.

One of the basic instincts in all of us is the instinct for self-preservation. It’s in our DNA from the beginning of time. When we are cornered or challenged, we naturally take defensive measures to protect ourselves. Unfortunately, when being questioned by the police, this instinct for self-preservation kicks into high gear. We say and do things which are designed to protect ourselves, and those statements may be subject to different interpretations than what you intended. For this reason alone, it is preferable to remain silent and not answer any questions.

If the possibility of admitting to another crime or supplying evidence against yourself isn’t reason enough for you to not talk to the police, consider this third reason for why you should always have a lawyer present. Any exaggeration or omission—no matter how slight—in any comment you make to the police could be construed as a lie. Lying to the police is both a federal and a state crime.

If you talk to the police without having your lawyer present, you are taking a gamble on your freedom and reputation. If you have been approached by law enforcement to answer questions, or the police have brought you to the station to talk, you need help from a highly qualified criminal defense lawyer like Attorney Barry Wax. Give us a call at (305) 373-4400 to learn more about how we can help you when the police “want to talk.”

Written by Law Offices of Barry M. Wax

Law Offices of Barry M. Wax

For 34 years, I have provided both State- and Federal-Level representation for those facing charges ranging from wire fraud, mortgage fraud, and healthcare fraud to identity theft, drug trafficking, money laundering, murder, DUI, domestic violence and numerous other criminal charges. In every case, it is my commitment to one-on-one service and support that has separated the Law Offices of Barry M. Wax from other criminal defense firms. When it comes to your future, you need a strong defense and the ability to make the right choices and regain control of your life.