Yes, you should always contact a lawyer if the police try to question you about your involvement in a crime. You should also speak to a lawyer before speaking with the police even in situations where you are “just a witness” or you were “just in the wrong place at the wrong time.” Here’s why:
Police officers are allowed to lie to you, mislead you and trick you into making statements. They are under no obligation to tell you the truth about who they are investigating, what evidence they have, or whether they are going to arrest you after you provide a statement, so you can never trust a police officer who is questioning you. In fact, you may not even realize you are the subject of a criminal investigation until you’ve already incriminated yourself, so ask for a lawyer before you speak to any law enforcement officer.
Generally, if law enforcement officers want to speak to you then you are either the subject of a criminal investigation or they believe you have information related to a criminal investigation. Naturally, people want to tell their “side of the story” because they want to prove they are innocent or they want to provide helpful information, but if you are the suspect in a criminal investigation and you provide a statement then your own words may be used to incriminate you. Your words can also be used to place you at the scene of the crime, or to eliminate any defenses you may have. The same can happen even if you believe you were “just a witness,” so it’s always best to speak to a lawyer before giving your statement.
Keep this in mind also: If the police have probable cause to arrest you then they are going to arrest you whether you make a statement or not. Nobody can talk their way out of probable cause so making a statement can only make your situation worse. Also, even if you are innocent, if you give a statement and misstate one fact, that misstatement can be considered a lie that may come back to hurt you later (for example, let’s say John Doe is completely innocent but he is being questioned about a murder that happened at a nearby park. John Doe says “I had nothing to do with that murder. I don’t know the victim and I’ve never been to that park,” but then the police later find out that John was really at the park, then John just made himself look like a suspect, even though he didn’t commit any murder.).
A lot of people are afraid to ask for a lawyer when confronted by the police, or they think asking for a lawyer will make them look bad. It’s natural for us as human beings to explain our actions or innocence, but you need to request a lawyer before you speak. Always remain respectful when asking for a lawyer, and if the police officer still moves forward with questioning then you should ask for a lawyer a second time. Do not think about whether or not asking for a lawyer makes you look bad and do not think about whether the officer is going to be upset with you. You have a constitutional right to speak with a lawyer and no judge, court or jury can legally hold it against you.
#d29e0eThere are very few situations where it is in your best interest to talk. Even if it is in your best interest, you have no way of knowing whether it is in your best interest without speaking to a lawyer. If law enforcement has contacted you to provide a statement then you should contact The Law Office of Matthew C. Williams immediately. At The Law Office of Matthew C. Williams, we can discuss your situation, your potential statement and the legal implications as it relates to any statement you make. In most cases, Attorney Williams is able to make contact with the investigator or detective prior to meeting with you, and he’s able to advise you on whether you should provide a statement. If it is appropriate to provide a statement, Attorney Williams will accompany you while you make the statement as well.
There are many other benefits to retaining a lawyer if you are contacted by law enforcement. Attorney Williams and The Law Office of Matthew C. Williams focus primarily on criminal defense matters and they take pride in obtaining great results for their clients. Attorney Williams treats his clients like family because he knows what they are dealing with is always more than just a case, and he refuses to let law enforcement, prosecutors, or the criminal justice system stand in the way of getting his clients the outcome they deserve. He obtains justice for his clients and he’ll do the same for you, so give The Law Office of Matthew C. Williams a call to find out how he can seek justice for you today.