Should I Speak to the Police?

This is a common question that I get from many of my clients. The simple answer is: it depends. You have every right to refuse to speak to the police. In many situations, the police already have probable cause to arrest you, and speaking to them does not help you, and in fact, may harm you. Seemingly harmless statements or comments can often be incriminating. If the police wish to speak to you, you have every right to politely decline. The 5th Amendment of the United States Constitution protects citizens from being forced to incriminate themselves. Often, when the police ask to speak to my clients, they threaten to arrest them if they decline. This is difficult because, of course, no one wants to be arrested. But the bottom line is, if the police are already interested in questioning you, you likely may be getting arrested regardless. That being said, there are times when agreeing to speak to the police can actually help your case. Especially if telling your side of the story might change their mind or give them a different perspective on the case that they are investigating. For example, if you have a solid alibi, or if you have physical evidence (like text messages, receipts, etc) that make it impossible that you committed the crime in question. In these cases, cooperating with the police can actually prevent you from being arrested.

If the police ask to question you, it is imperative that you bring a qualified criminal attorney with you. Spend time with the attorney beforehand, tell them your story, and give them all of the relevant information. That way, they can make an informed decision as to whether or not it is wise to speak to the police. Have the attorney come with you to the police station. A qualified attorney can ensure that you do not say anything that can harm or incriminate you. A qualified attorney will also be able to ensure that the police follow all proper protocols.

The bottom line is, under no circumstances should you speak to the police WITHOUT an attorney present. Be polite. Tell the police you’d like to consult an attorney before speaking to them. Then you and your attorney can decide whether or not it’s a good idea. If you need legal assistance, or have been asked to speak to the police, contact Attorney Kate Hinman for immediate help at 617-283-4480.

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