“I am innocent, so I can talk to the police without fear of being arrested.”
This is a very dangerous misconception that could result in your arrest and conviction. Being innocent is not a guarantee that you are “safe” from prosecution. Many innocent people must retain a criminal defense attorney and fight criminal charges. Answering police questions could put you in this position before you realize what is happening to you.
You May Be a Suspect Even Though the Police Say You Are Not
The police may intentionally mislead you to make you think you are not a suspect or under investigation. This tactic is used to make you feel comfortable, so you will answer questions and provide information. Remember, anything you say before you are arrested or in custody can be used against you. The police are not required to read you the Miranda warning until you are arrested or in custody. Once you are in custody or arrested, if you do not read the Miranda warning, anything you say could be thrown out by a judge. Therefore, it is often easier for the police and investigators to obtain incriminating information and evidence before an arrest. Before you answer any questions for the police, you need to consult with a criminal defense attorney. Our attorneys can guide you by helping you to answer questions posed by the police or advise you when it is in your best interest to remain silent.
The police often believe they have the “guilty” party when they have a suspect, even if they do not have the evidence to prove guilt. Therefore, they use all resources to obtain evidence, including telling you that they are just asking “routine” questions and by cooperating you are “helping” yourself. You are not helping yourself by cooperating with the police during an investigation. You could actually be handing the police the evidence they need to make an arrest.
Be Careful of Deals Offered During an Investigation
A police officer or investigator does not have the legal authority to offer you a deal or grant you immunity for your cooperation. Likewise, the police cannot promise you a lesser charge if you answer questions now rather than later. You must be cautious when dealing with the police during an investigation. If a police officer offers you a “deal,” it is a tactic used to obtain information.
Even an Innocent Person Can Make a Mistake
When the police are questioning you, it can be overwhelming. You may feel anxious or frightened. In an intensely emotional situation, you could make a mistake recounting a memory or providing factual information. Even if you do not make any mistakes in your statement, it is difficult to make the same exact statement or provide the same exact answers to questions the second. Therefore, at trial, if your statement changes even the slightest from the information you provided during an investigation, the prosecution is going to portray you as dishonest and guilty. It is much better to provide one statement and one statement only — at trial after being counseled by an experienced criminal defense lawyer. If the only questions you answer or statements you make are those at trial, the prosecution will have no prior statements from you to contradict your testimony at trial.
Don’t Talk to the Police Until You Talk to A Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney
We want to help you present the strongest defense possible beginning from the moment you suspect you are under investigation for a crime. By contacting our office as soon as you discover you are a suspect or you are involved in any police investigation, you allow our experienced attorneys to begin protecting your best interest by protecting your legal rights. We urge you to exercise your right to remain silent — during an investigation and after being arrested. You are not required to answer police questions at any stage. Contact The Clark Law Office to schedule a free legal consultation with a Lansing criminal defense attorney. Call our office at 517-347-6900 for more information and to schedule your free appointment. For your convenience, we have offices in Okemos and Lansing.