Giving a voluntary statement to police. Police love to trick people
into giving them information – and it is entirely legal for them to do
so! I cannot tell you how many cases I have seen that could never have
been proven if it wasn’t for my client’s own statements. You always
have a right to remain silent, even if the police never read you your rights.
Remember, there is nothing that you can say to the police now that you
can’t tell them later when your attorney is present.
the police to come inside and search without a warrant. Beware of
police asking “You don’t mind if we look around, do you?” Yes, you mind.
home is your castle. If they have a search warrant, you should ask
to read it. The warrant should indicate what they are allowed
to look for and where. You should ask the police if they will allow
you to watch the search.
being polite and courteous with police. Many police will treat you
like a criminal even if you have done nothing wrong. But, this is
not the time to make them more angry. Don’t do anything that will cause
the situation to escalate and turn something bad into something even worse.
Arrest. If the police have made a decision to arrest you, being uncooperative
will only hurt your case – and is a crime itself. Comply with any
movement requests, such as placing your hands behind your back to be cuffed,
but remember that you don’t have to give any statements or allow searches.
giving samples of body fluids, fingerprints, handwriting, or clothing.
Police generally need a court order to obtain these types of evidence from
you. Your lawyer may later agree to give these things to them,
but you should talk it over with your lawyer first.
a polygraph or lie-detector test. There is a reason that these tests
are not allowed to be used as evidence in court – they are unreliable.
You can be telling the truth and it can show that you are lying, or vice
versa. In certain situations, polygraph tests are helpful, but should
be used only after careful consideration by your lawyer.
about the incident to your family or friends. Even if you don’t give
a statement to the police, your friends may. Police don’t have many
restrictions on questioning your friends or family about what they know
or what you might have told them. Later, your friends can be called
as witnesses at a trial and made to tell the jury anything that you told
too long to hire a lawyer. It is easy to procrastinate and put off
the inevitable. But, your lawyer needs time to investigate your case and
prepare your defense. Too often, witnesses become harder to locate,
crime scenes change, and helpful evidence disappears. The police
are generally on the scene close in time to the incident. Shouldn’t
you give your lawyer that same advantage?
telling your lawyer all the facts. Your lawyer can’t give you the
best representation without knowing the facts. Even if the facts
are bad or embarrassing, your lawyer can do a much better job if he or
she knows the facts up front. You should choose a lawyer who you
know won’t judge you, but will protect your best interests no matter what.
a lawyer who is not experienced in criminal law or in doing jury trials.
Criminal charges can have serious consequences – present and long term.
Using an experienced and skilled attorney can have a tremendous affect
on the outcome of your case. Click
HERE to see the 6 most important
questions to ask before hiring a criminal defense attorney.