This article will outline and explain why you should never ever speak with the police.
Any lawyer worth his salt will tell you NEVER to talk to the police
Every single day people confess to the police. You should never, ever talk to the police. Period. However, if you don't believe me,then perhaps you will believe former United States Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson when he says, "[A]ny lawyer worth his salt will tell the [client] in no uncertain terms to make no statement to the police under any circumstances." Watts v. Indiana, 338 U.S. 49 (1949).
Nothing you say will help you avoid being arrested
When a cop calls and say he "needs to talk to you" the vast majority of the time a complaint has been filed against you. Nothing you say will be able to stop your arrest. So why speak?
The police are allowed to, and do, lie
When a cop calls and says he's investigating "something" and just wants to have a "chat with you" down at the station so you can explain "your side of the story" rest assured he's lying. They have all the cards. and you have none. You have no idea how they'll be able to use what you say against you. It's not a chat, it's an interrogation. The police want to get your confession to save himself or herself a lot of paperwork in having to make an arrest warrant application.
What's really going on when the police want to talk to you
Police, by and large, like to take the path of least resistance. If the police arrest you upon "speedy information," i.e., shortly after the alleged crime was reported, then they do not have to get a warrant for your arrest. So they first call you or come to your home to get you to come to the PD voluntarily, confess, and then they can arrest you without a warrant on "speedy information" as well as have the evidence of your confession.
Why you should ALWAYS make the police get an arrest warrant
Now you may be wondering 'since they will get an arrest warrant, shouldn't I go down and 'get it over with'.' The answer is a resounding NO! Here's why:
(1) Sometimes they only have HALF the story. Perhaps that's all they are fishing for you to put yourself at a crime scene and without your cooperation they can never make a case against you.
(2) Sometimes they have evidence for a minor crime only, but your statements could give them evidence to arrest on a more serious crime.
(3) Just because they MAKE an arrest warrant application does not mean a judge will issue the arrest warrant.
(4) Often times the police need more affidavits from witnesses to make an arrest warrant application. This takes time, and as time fades so do memories and zeal to cooperate with the police against you. Often without your cooperation the case dies on the vine.
5) Here is the most important reason you NEVER talk to the police: In NY and many other states, when you are arrested pursuant to an arrest warrant the police are PROHIBITED from questioning you without a lawyer present. Anything you say CANNOT be used against you.
What to do if the police show up at your door or call you
If the police call you on the phone DO NOT ANSWER THEIR QUESTIONS! YOU do the questioning. Get the cop's name, police department, precinct, and phone number. Tell him that you will have your lawyer call him. And then hang up.
If the police come to your door DO NOT ANSWER THE DOOR! It's just that simple. If you do answer the door, immediately shut it once you realize they are cops. Do not let the police in your home! You have no obligation to let the cops into your home, and if they have a search warrant then they don't need your permission to enter.
Shut the door, lock it, and go to a window. Tell the police through the window that you are not going to talk to them or let them in your home, and that if they have a search warrant they can kick the door in and you won't resist. Tell them to leave a slip of paper in your mailbox with their name, police department, precinct, and phone number and that your lawyer will call them.
What if you believe yourself to be not guilty
Once it gets this far you're getting arrested. In fact, certain types of crimes require an arrest upon complaint only. Domestic violence and sex abuse are two. If someone calls and complains against you -- no matter how strong their motive to lie might be -- the police are required by statute to make an arrest.
Other problems with talking to the police
Cops are highly trained in the art of manipulation. It's not like on TV where a grizzled old detective screams at you in you face. They come off as good guys and start by minimizing the investigation by saying something like, "we're just checking out a few leads, we're sure you had nothing to do with it," or "we just want to get your side of the story..."
Before you know it you'll feel like you're talking to old friends who are looking to help you out. They'll say that they know you are "a good person" and that it will feel good "to get everything off your chest." They'll also tell you that they will "tell the judge you cooperated...it will probably be thrown out..."
Rest assured, this is all brainwashing manipulation and lies. I have said it before and will say it again. The police can and will like to you. I repeat: Cops can (and will) lie to you!
So why do people talk?
People talk for various reasons. Such as:
We have been inculcated in our society that the police are our friends and helpers and that they should never ever be disrespected. While this is true, assertion of constitutional rights to not talk, consent to a search, etc., is not disrespect of the police.
Another reason is that some people are so dumb that they think they're smarter than the cops and can talk their way out of anything. Never works.
Most people though just want to tell the truth; "get things off their chest...do the right thing..." It's our puritan heritage. However, the cops are not your priest. You don't go straight to heaven for confessing and "doing the right thing." In fact, quite the opposite happens. You get the worse possible outcome and put yourself in the worse possible position by cooperating and confessing. The police will share the information you give them the court and prosecutors. It will not to do you any good like clear your conscience or save your soul, but get you convicted and placed behind bars.
Whom you CAN talk to if the police want a statement
If you really need to get things off your chest about something you've done, here's who to confess to -- your lawyer! He'll cover all the bases, give you good advice, by law keep your confidence, and work with you to avoid convictions and to keep you out of jail.
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