I was asked to be interviewed by a DCF woker at this time, do i have to comply or is it more right to not answer to them..

Asked over 2 years ago - Palm Coast, FL

I went to court today and pleaded not guilty on my battery charge against my girlfriend, I was appointed a public attorney to my case.. There is a second charge of the same nature against me, so the public attorney told me that he will fight both cases at one time... At the same time a DCF worker contacted me and asked me to come down to an interview, what should i tell her... If i don't want to speak with them so i dont implicate myself in both the cases brought against me... Is it my legal right to refuse to talk to them until i meet with my lawyer.... If so what do i tell the social investigator when she asks me to come and talk to her about the pending case against me... Is it better to wait till i meet with my attorney and then take it from there or what... Thank you

Attorney answers (3)

  1. David Bradley Dohner

    Contributor Level 13

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You are in a very precarious, extremely difficult position at the moment. I would absolutely recommend FIRMLY that you have absolutely no discussions with anyone without an attorney present. Obviously, you and your girlfriend have children which has led to the involvement of DCF and they have the right to talk with you, and will, or should, do the same with her. However, your public defender may be constrained by his or her office's policies in terms of accompanying you to, or otherwise being present for, the interview with DCF. While it may very well be held against you if they determine that you have not been forthcoming, it would be tremendously unfair to you, as you have the absolute right to refrain from incriminating yourself by giving statements pending trial. However, as a layperson, it may be difficult for to determine what you can talk about and what you can not talk about. For the present time, I would certainly advise that if your public defender can not accompany you to the DCF interview, you retain private counsel for this purpose. If you can not do so, I would suggest that you politely advise the investigator or attorney for DCF, that you respectfully invoke your 5th and 6th Amendment rights affording you the right to remain silent and the right to have counsel present during questioning. Do your very best to determine if your attorney can be present, or to otherwise make arrangements to have an attorney present. This situation is a difficult one and will require some technical expertise and some diplomacy, at the same time. I wish you all the best of luck.

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  2. John Stephen Hager

    Contributor Level 10

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You do not have to answer the questions from DCF because you have pending cases against you and could incriminate yourself in those cases. Hire an attorney to protect your rights.

  3. Robert Jason De Groot

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Do not talk to the caseworker without an attorney.

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