What Should I Do If I Am A Suspect, And The Police Want To Talk With Me?
The short answer is the same, whether you are guilty of a crime or not. Do not talk with the police without a lawyer at your side. If you are a suspect, it is a very good bet that the officer or detective who seeks to speak with you believes you are guilty and knows obtaining a statement is the best way to build a rock-solid case against you.
In order to persuade you to speak, an officer will sometimes attempt to charm you and make you believe that he/she is on your side. You might be told, “I only want to get your side of the story so we can clear this up.” Don’t believe it. Let it be known that you want a lawyer present before any questioning.
At that point, the officer’s tone will often change. The friendliness will disappear, and the conversation will become either mildly or strongly threatening. “If you won’t talk, I have no choice but to believe you have something to hide.” Or, “I think I’m just going to have to arrest you until I can get to the bottom of this.”
Your response should be the same. “I’d like to have a lawyer present before I answer any questions.”
Again, this is true whether you have committed a crime or not. Innocent people who have spoken to the police without a lawyer present often find that what they said has been misrepresented or twisted into a version they don’t recognize. Don’t give authorities that chance. Politely, but firmly, insist on a lawyer.
There is a saying in my business. “If a fish never opens its mouth, it’s hard for it to get hooked.”
Believe it. This is the single most important advice I can give you.