Should I talk to the police? Do I have to talk to the police?
No! Don’t talk to the police! Call a criminal defense lawyer Aaron J. Boria if you believe you are being investigated by the police (734) 453-7806.
United States Justice of the Supreme Court, Robert Jackson, who also served as the United States Attorney General, and the chief prosecutor in the Nuremberg Trials, a prosecutor’s prosecutor, is famous for the following quote:
Any lawyer worth his salt will tell the suspect in no uncertain terms to make no statement to the police under any circumstances.
Top Five Reasons why you should not talk to the police.
1. Talking to police will NOT help you.
You won’t talk your way out of getting arrested. You cannot give police information that will help you at trial because it would be hearsay; however, if the evidence hurts you it is admissible. This is where Miranda warnings come from, “anything you say, can be used against you”. There is no part of Miranda that says anything you say can be used to help you.
You have a Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate yourself, use it.
Here are two famous quotes from the United States Supreme Court about the Fifth Amendment:
Ohio v Reiner, 532 U.S. 17 (2001) “One of the Fifth Amendment’s basic functions is to protect innocent men who otherwise might be ensured by ambiguous circumstances. Truthful responses of an innocent witness, as well as the as those of a wrongdoer may provide the government with incriminating evidence from the speakers own mouth.”
Ulmann v United States, 350 U.S. 422, 426 (1956) “Too many, even those who should be better advised, view this privilege as a shelter for wrongdoers. They too readily assume that those who involved either guilty of crime or commit perjury or claim the privilege.”
2. If you are guilty or even if you are innocent you may admit guilt with no benefit in return.
Even if you are guilty, what’s the rush? Maybe you’ll get a better deal if you wait. Trials are time consuming and expensive for the courts and prosecution. They will often give you an incentive to admit your guilt. There is a saying in the legal field, “Nobody talks, everybody walks”.
3. Police are legally allowed to lie to you.
Police are legally allowed to lie to you and many of them will. Officer’s will often tell someone accused of a crime that the police have video or evidence from an eye witness that proves your guilt when it isn’t actually true. After hours of being in a cinder block room, tired and uncomfortable people will admit to things that never happened.
As a criminal defense lawyers client’s come into the office and say things like, “The officer told me if I cooperated he would go easier on me but I still got charged”, or, “The cop told me if I gave up my friend he’d let me go but then we both got charged.”
Police lie for many reasons, one because in some situations it may make their job easier to lie to you and make you believe you won’t get arrested in order to make their investigation go smoother for them. Second, police lie in order to make you feel more comfortable in order to get you to confess information that will be used against you later in court. Third, police lie in order to get you to help them. Fourth, police lie to you because they can.
A promise by a police officer is worth squat. First off, they can lie to you about their promise to go lenient, not charge you or reduce the potential charges. Second, a police officer’s promise to you is not enforceable in a court of law! That’s right, a police officer cannot be held to their promise in court!
4. Even if you are innocent and only tell the truth, you will still give the police some information that can be used to convict you.
If the police had enough information to arrest you they would. Interviews are usually used to seal your guilt.
Since 1976 more than 40 confessions have been shown to be false by DNA evidence, according to a professor at the University of Virginia School of Law.
Even if you are innocent, talking with the police is a high pressure and very stressful situation, interrogations often last for hours. It is possible you will get carried away, ramble, and tell a little white lie or make some mistake that results in you getting charged or convicted because the police don’t believe you.
The mentally impaired, mentally ill, the young, and those pressed for a confession are the ones that most likely to falsely confess. The majority of the 40 above were either mentally disabled or under 18 and had been subjected to long, intimidating interrogations, without a lawyer.
Some of the confessions appear so real because the police provide the confessor with facts about the case. Not that they are doing this intentionally, but it results in the person confessing writing a detailed and believable report of the event.
When police question you they already have an outcome in mind they are seeking. Police have been trained to put words in your mouth.
5. Even if are innocent and only tell the truth there is still a chance your answer can be used to convict you if police don’t recall your testimony with 100% certainty.
In 25% of cases where people who were convicted and later exonerated by DNA evidence had given incriminating statements, or even plead guilty.
6. Bonus: Don’t be a snitch
Snitching is incredibly dangerous. There was a recent article in the New York Times about a female college student who got in some trouble for having mushrooms, acid, or some other party music festival type drug. She was arrested by police who told her that if she cooperated she wouldn’t be charged. This was really important to the college student because she didn’t want a drug crime on her criminal record when she left college to seek a job, and because as a poor college student she couldn’t afford the massive fines a criminal conviction and probation would cost her. She agreed to cooperate to do a controlled buy from a dealer. She was murdered in the process.
There is a saying amongst criminal lawyers and among the street, “snitches get stitches and end up in ditches” and it’s true. If you agree to be a snitch you are risking life and limb.
Hire an aggressive criminal defense lawyer
Here is why you need to hire a criminal lawyer right away when the police are investigating you. When you get a criminal attorney involved they can talk with the detective and see how real this deal to cooperate is and what kind of cooperation is expected of you.
Remember what was written above about a police officer’s promise is not enforceable in court? That is true, but a prosecutor’s promise is enforceable in court. (The prosecutor is the attorney representing the government and the police in a criminal case against you) If the police officer is really serious about you helping and getting reduced charges or immunity from being charged, then the prosecuting attorney needs to get involved in order to make a written and enforceable deal. If the officer doesn’t want to get the prosecutor involved, then you can bet that it is because the deal isn’t real and the officer is lying to you. You are probably going to get charged the same regardless of what you do, so don’t risk the danger that comes with being a snitch.
Criminal lawyer, Aaron J. Boria, has worked out similar deals at the city level, state level, and even the federal level when defending clients who may have information to offer police. Boria takes on a limited number of cases to insure that those clients receive the best representation possible. To see if you would be a good fit for our firm call (734) 453-7806 or email Canton lawyer, Aaron J. Boria at Borialaw@gmail.com.