Imagine that the police have either detained you or they have asked you to come in and speak with them. You know you are not guilty of committing any criminal offense and are tempted to talk to them to clear your name. Although it may seem like the best thing to do, it isn’t. Never speak to the police without having an experienced defense attorney present.
Pre-filing Investigation in San Diego
As a general rule, the police only come looking for someone to “talk” to them for one of the following reasons:
- They have enough evidence to make the arrest, but are hoping you will confess and strengthen the case against you
- They suspect you did it and hope you will incriminate yourself while talking with them
- They don’t suspect you directly but think you have information that could lead to the arrest of someone you know.
The reality is that the police do not come looking for you to help you clear your name. If they want to “talk” to you, it is for evidence gathering purposes of some sort. It is critical that you keep that in mind at all times.
Furthermore, if you do speak to the police and they get you to lie about anything they ask you, it might later be used to impeach everything you have said. For example, if the police ask where you were on a particular day and, although you were nowhere near the scene of the crime, you don’t want to tell them about your relationship with the married neighbor, you may choose to tell a white lie and claim you were at home. If they later discover you were with the neighbor, the prosecutor could use that white lie to make it look like nothing you say is the truth, including your proclamation of innocence.
Anything you say might end up hurting you. For example, assume the police are investigating a murder case wherein your former co-worker was the victim. In an attempt to be honest with them, you stress you didn’t do it but admit you didn’t like each other while working together. That statement provides police with a motive. Now they will likely try to locate other former co-workers of yours and ask them if you had a problem with the victim. You have shown them the clearly lit path to prosecute you even though you didn’t commit the crime.
More importantly, the police are not in the position to help you in any way. Though law enforcement officers frequently make it sound as if they have the authority to “help you out,” the truth is they haven’t got the authority to do so. Only a prosecuting attorney has that authority.
The bottom line is that talking to the police is never a good idea unless you have first consulted with an experienced California criminal defense attorney and the attorney is present during the questioning.