My office and I handle a significant volume of criminal matters throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Many times we speak directly with the defendant, who is our client, but in some situations we speak to parents, guardians, spouses and other family members due to a variety of reasons. As we deal with more and more of these cases we've found that one of the most common mistakes that we find family members of clients making is speaking to the police when they are not alleged to be a part of the crime. There is a great deal of risk that you accept when you decide to speak to the police on behalf of a family member or friend - even if you have nothing to do with the alleged incident.
It is common for the police to assume that you will be trying to hide or distort information in order to help your family member. One of the most central rights in our legal system is the right to remain silent. As such it is important that you decline to answer any questions. This will protect you from any possibility of the police misunderstanding your conversation, and potentially charging you with what could be a more serious crime than the one that your friend or family members is alleged to have committed.
There is no need to be rude or disrespectful to the officer - this would be counterproductive. The best response is as simple as "I'm sorry, Officer. I'm not comfortable answering any questions."
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