If you have ever been asked by the police to answer questions in the investigation of a crime, you may think that talking to investigators will be okay. After all, the police will make it seem like having a conversation is nothing to worry about, especially if they say that you are not under investigation, and that it should not be a long conversation.
Keep in mind that this is what the police want you to think. After all, who would voluntarily speak with law enforcement investigators if there was something to lose? Whatever utopian view you are being sold, a “few questions” can easily morph into a full blown interview, where the questions are posed specifically to illicit information that form the legal basis to justify a search warrant or even an arrest. Because of this, it is critical that no interviews, no matter how short or benign they can be, should take place without a lawyer present.
There are several reasons why this is important. This post will highlight a couple.
You have a constitutional right to counsel – If you have been asked to come in for questioning, you should know that you have a legal right to have an attorney present. If you are not able to have counsel present, there is nothing wrong with politely declining the request.
You may be harming your future legal position – The police may justify the meeting because they “want to hear your side of the story.” This may not always be the case. After all, the purpose of an investigation is to establish suspects, not necessarily to eliminate them.
If you have been invited by the police to answer “a few questions,” ask an experienced criminal defense attorney some questions first.