When the police contact you for an interview, you need to understand the seriousness of your situation. The situation can be extremely stressful even when you know you are innocent of any wrongdoing.
Many innocent people are charged with crimes every day. Those that have committed a criminal act will often make their situation worse through their statements. Worse yet, the accused whether guiltily or innocent will often provide the pivotal evidence against them.
Police investigators are masterful interviewers!
Their sole purpose is to build full-proof criminal cases for referral to the district attorney. They are judged by their success in achieving this goal. Most take great pride in their effectiveness in building cases. Their success often turns on their interviewing skills, and their ability to extract confessions or other damaging statements against the accused.
The investigators will use a variety of interviewing or questioning tactics to get you to make damaging statements. These tactics are beyond the scope of this article but suffice it to say that speaking to the police without an attorney is rarely if ever in your best interests. You may make statements that you could not possibly anticipate could be used against you.
You do not have to talk to the police. You have the right to remain silent. Your 5th Amendment right against self-incriminations is among the most important rights that you have in criminal case. This right applies at every state of a criminal case from the criminal investigation all the way through trial. You should exercise this right.
The only thing that can hurt you more than giving damaging statements is giving false statements. Giving false statements to an investigator is itself a very serious crime punishable by imprisonment.
A false statement may even be made inadvertently and these too may make a bad situation much much worse. Exercise your 5th Amendment right and decline to give a statement. To do otherwise poses too many risks.
Not surprisingly, people accused or suspected of a crime, believe that cooperating with the police will somehow help their case. Police and prosecutors pursue nice folks just as aggressively as they do the rude.
Do not make the mistake of believing the investigator when he or she tells you that they are there to help clear things up, and that they can help you if you just make their job easier.
You soon feel the acute sense of betrayal when you find the cop is not your friend, and is instead sitting before the jury testifying against you. Much of the basis of this testimony will be taken from your own statements.
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