So here’s the thing: Police officers are very good at making you feel like they are your friend because they are trained to make you feel like they are your friend. And nine times out of ten, they get convictions because they convince people, like you, that they are their friend. They’re not. I don’t care how nice/sweet/innocent you are or how much money you have. Agreeing to give a statement to a police officer without an experienced criminal attorney present is the best chance you have of getting convicted of a crime.
Forget Law and Order. Forget Cold Case. Police officers and district attorneys get convictions as a result of statements made by defendants. It pains me to think of the number of cases I’ve handled where, without a defendant’s statement, the state would never have had enough evidence to convict.
When a police officer tells you that you have the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney, they are doing so because the law requires them to do so. Not because they really want you to remain silent and/or call a defense attorney.
But I get it…it’s human nature to want to cooperate, be nice and go with the program. And when someone wearing a uniform and carrying a gun says something like “I’m sure once I hear your story, everything will be fine and you’ll get to go home,” your first reaction will be to just tell them your story.
DON’T TELL THEM YOUR STORY!
What 99% of the country doesn’t know is that years ago, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the police can legally be deceptive when questioning suspects. In other words, police officers are lawfully allowed to lie in order to get a confession.
“Your friend just gave you up” (untrue).
“You might as well come clean. We have evidence linking you to the crime” (untrue).
“I’m sure if you just tell me what happened things will go easier for you” (untrue).
The bottom line is that it is NEVER in your interest to give statements to the police. Even if you’re completely innocent. The right to an attorney is there for a reason. Use it. And yes, police officers will often say that if you just give them a statement you’ll most likely get to go home. Almost always not the case. If anything, giving a statement will lead to an indictment.
If you tell a cop that you want a lawyer, they must stop interrogating you. Regardless of circumstances, please, please, please take advantage of your constitutional rights and tell said cop that you want a lawyer and DON’T SAY ANYTHING until you’re criminal attorney arrives. In almost every instance, a good criminal attorney will tell you to say nothing.
And odds are, it will save your life.