Written by attorney Eric Matthew Milner

What to do if the Police contact you

Most people already know that if the Police are accusing you of a crime it is in your best interest to keep your mouth shut and to ask for a lawyer. Many people don't realize that the same principals apply when the Police "just want to talk."

Very often the Police may simply ask you to come down to the station to talk to them or to clear something up. Very often the Police downplay the reason that they are asking you to speak with them or make it seem as if they just want to have a friendly conversation.

If the Police contact you and ask to talk with you with them about anything the next thing you should do is CONTACT A LAWYER!!!

Unfortunately, if the Police have contacted you, there is a high probability that they intend to arrest you. If they are being vague or evasive as to the reason you should come down to the station to talk with them, or, if the reason they are asking you to come down to the station just simply doesn’t make sense, it is even more likely that they intend to arrest you.

The Police do this for a specific reason, instead of just arresting you. They want you to confess or make some sort of incriminating statement! It is a common misconception that the Police cannot question you without reading you your “Miranda Rights." Unfortunately, that is simply not true. The Police must only read you your “Miranda Rights" once they have arrested you. If you voluntarily go to the police station for a “conversation" or invite the Police into your home “just to talk" or “to clear something up" (famous police jargon for we want to arrest you, but first we want you to spill your guts) the Police are under no obligation to inform you of your “Miranda Rights"

Even if you are sure you are 100% innocent of whatever it is the Police may be investigating, it is still unwise to have any conversations with the Police without first consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Remember, you have no idea what the Police already know or don’t know. What may seem like a harmless statement might be providing the Police with vital information that they don’t already have. The Police could be lying to you about the entire purpose of their investigation. They could say they are investigating one thing which you know you are innocent of and actually be investigating something else that if you knew they were investigating you would keep your mouth shut. For instance, you may state that you were at a certain address at a particular day and time (even if you weren’t doing anything wrong), but now the Police have your “admission" that you were at that particular place. They don’t need to prove it anymore! Even if you are innocent, you have now made the Prosecutor’s job of convicting you easier because he will not have to prove that you were at that specific address. Or, lets say the Police tell you that someone saw you running away from a house that was burglarized the night before and you tell them "Oh, no, it couldn't have been me, I was at work." For all you know, the Police made up that accusation and instead are trying to find evidence that you are guilty of another crime (perhaps one that took place near your job). You have now admitted to the Police that you were at a location that they couldn't have otherwise proven.

Only an experienced criminal defense attorney can advise you whether or not you should speak to the Police. Only an experienced criminal defense attorney can determine if your actions will subject you to any criminal liability. Only an experienced criminal defense attorney can protect you from making an incriminating statement to the police.

If the Police leave notice that they want to speak to you or you have been stopped by the police for questioning, this is what you should do:

A) Tell the Police only your name, address, telephone number, birthdate and social security number (this is known as pedigree information and you can always safely give this to the Police).

B) Inform the Officer that you want to call an attorney and you have nothing to say until you have spoken to an attorney. Do not be worried that this will make you look suspicious! If the police are questioning you… they are already suspicious! Anyway, the fact that you asked to speak to a lawyer can NEVER be used against you… so who cares what the police think anyway.

C) If the police ask to search you, your car, your home, your bag, or anything that you own, REFUSE!!! If the Police persist in the search, continue to express your refusal to such a search but NEVER physically resist. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to get the evidence thrown out if the Police conducted an inappropriate search.

D) Many people think that by talking to the police and being cooperative they will be able to avoid arrest. Remember, if the police have contacted you, THEY PROBABLY INTEND TO ARREST YOU. DO NOT BE HELPFUL! You will only be making their case easier for them.

E) Do not let your fear of an arrest lead you to making foolish statements to the police. It is better to spend a night in jail then to later be convicted of a crime and serve additional time! Remember, if the police have contacted you, it doesn’t matter what you say… THEY WILL PROBABLY ARREST YOU.

F) The only thing you should do is tell the police you want an attorney and you should then call an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help guide you through this process.

G) The Police may tell you that by talking you will make things easier on yourself. They may even tell you they will let you go if you just admit what you did. DO NOT BELIEVE THEM. IT IS ALL LIES. The Police, are ALLOWED TO LIE as a means of interrogation or investigation.

In general, the best practice is to refuse to answer any questions or cooperate with the Police in any way for any reason unless you have first consulted with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

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