David E. Stanley APLC

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David E. Stanley APLC

If Law Enforcement Agents Have Contacted Me, And Asked Me To Voluntarily Meet With Them To Answer Their Questions, Or Because They Want To Hear My Side, What Should I Do?

A. Do not speak with law enforcement agents. When they want to talk to you, do not talk with them. Ever. You have the constitutional right to remain silent and you should always exercise it. Still not convinced, do not take my word for it, listen to what former United States Attorney General and Supreme Court Justice Robert N. Jackson had to say on the subject: “Any lawyer worth his salt will tell [a] suspect in no uncertain terms to make no statement to police under any circumstances.”

But, why you ask? Because he already believes that you may have committed a crime, and he may have some evidence to support his belief, but he wants to talk to you to strengthen is case against you before you speak to a lawyer and before he arrests you. Yes, that is right, he is going to arrest you, but he will not tell you that up front.

You will not be able to talk your way out of trouble. Forget it. Won’t happen. Why? Because there are too many ways it can go badly for you. Even if you are completely innocent, he will not believe anything you say anyway, except the parts of your statement where you either confess to the crime or incriminate yourself. If your lawyer is not present in the room with you, do not say anything, don’t nod your head yes or no, don’t make any gestures indicating agreement or disagreement, and don’t sign any written statements, consent forms, or written statements.

But, you may ask, if I am innocent and have nothing hide, what could possibly be wrong with talking to a law enforcement agent. Well, for starters, you are helping them build their case, instead of letting them build it without your help. Other risks include:

  1. You may be misled, deceived, or threatened into confessing to a crime that you did not commit.
  2. You also might inadvertently or knowingly make false statements to the law enforcement agent, in order to avoid going to jail, which will damage your credibility and impact your ability to testify if the case goes to trial. A false statement will allow the prosecutor to argue that you were lying to coverup the crime.
  3. The law enforcement agent may not hear you correctly, or misunderstand or misinterpret what you are saying, or write it down wrong.
  4. You might unwittingly admit to facts that are elements of the crime being investigated, and which they may never be able to prove without your admitting them. Examples include admitting being present at the scene when the crime occurred; knowing a codefendant or victim; having consensual intercourse with a victim claiming sexual assault; or making a statement that suggests that you had a motive for committing the crime, that you conspired with another person to commit the crime, or that you were an accessory after the fact.
  5. The law enforcement agent may write down or only remember part of what you say, just the one or two bad or incriminating parts, and forget the other twenty good, non-incriminating parts that show your innocence.
  6. Finally, the law enforcement agent may lie to you or deceive you to induce you into confessing or making an incriminating statement, or may lie about, misrepresent or embellish what you said, or say that you said things you never said, to make you appear guilty to get a conviction.

About the Author If you have been charged with a federal or state felony crime,
Attorney David Stanley works tirelessly to protect and
defend the legal rights for you.