Defendants in a criminal prosecution frequently make mistakes that cost them dearly. One common mistake occurs before the individual is officially a defendant. People all too often think they do not need a lawyer if the police want to talk to them. The reality is, however, that you should always consult a lawyer if the police want to talk to you before agreeing to speak to them.
If the police want to speak to you, they have a reason plain and simple. They either feel you are a suspect in a crime or a witness. If you contacted the police regarding a crime then speaking to them may not be a problem; however, if the police show up on your doorstep and want to talk to you about a crime and you did not contact them, you should speak to a lawyer before talking to them.
The police are trained to get people to talk. More specifically, they are trained to get people to incriminate themselves when they talk. Many people have operated under the belief that they are too smart to get trapped into saying something they shouldn’t. The vast majority of those people ended up being convicted of something. Even if you legitimately have nothing to hide, you should still not speak to the police without counsel. Something you say can be misconstrued or taken out of context and actually turn you into a suspect when you may not have been one to begin with.
One of the most common tactics of law enforcement is to try and get you to consent to search of your home. They may show up and ask to “talk to you” for a few minutes. If you make the mistake of letting them in you have already given up some of your rights. They may then try and convince you that they have enough to get a search warrant but since they are already there it would be easier for everyone involved if you just give them consent to search. If they have enough for a search warrant make them get one. Don’t give them consent without talking to an attorney first.
If you are under investigation in San Diego, the basic rule should always be to consult with an attorney before talking to the police. It is your absolute right to do so and if it is truly in your best interest to speak to them your attorney can advise you to do so.
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