Reasons why it is never a good idea if you think you may be suspected of a crime to answer questions without an attorney.
Your Right to Remain Silent.
Under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution you have an absolute right to not testify or answer question that even may be incriminating. The Police or any other investigative authority cannot force you to make a statement except under conditions of immunity from prosecution which is rarely used and always negotiated between the prosecutor and attorney. Unless your are a mob boss it is very unlikely you will run across this. The the police have no authority to make this offer so if they do they are lying.
The police are professionals trained in interrogation techniques often with years of experience. If you try to outwit them they will eat you alive. If you are contacted by the police who want to "clear things up" or "get your side of the story", you should just ask what it is about and politely decline to discuss it until you have spoken to an attorney. Generally, if they are asking you these questions it is for the purpose of obtaining incriminating statements. If they have enough evidence they will charge you no matter what you say. If they don't they are fishing for admissions or a confession. Don't do it.
There are a lot of misconceptions, propagated by the popular media, that the police have to give you a "Miranda" warning prior to questioning. This applies only after you become the target of an investigation for a specific crime and has many other exceptions that enable the police to obtain incriminating evidence without giving the warning. For example, if you are stopped for speeding and the officer asks "do you have any drugs or guns in the car?" and you say "yes the drugs are right here" (I've had clients do this) he can use that as an admission without giving you Miranda warnings. So again, never make any admissions to the police beyond legitimate cooperation, i.e. "can I see your license and registration?".
Additional resources provided by the author
Probably the best explanation for the reasons not to talk to the police I've seen are in this video by a criminal defense attorney and state police detective.
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