Is it Ever a Good Idea to Talk to Police During a Criminal Investigation?
In my experience having practiced criminal defense at both the state and federal level for the past 26 years, I would say it's almost never a good idea to talk to the police. The problem is, sometimes they tape record the statement; sometimes they don't.
When they don't take recorded statements, I've noticed that my clients are complaining that either the statement is not accurately depicted in the police report or they take something that the client says out of context and are trying to use it against them.
Another big thing that I see is people don't realize that when the police come to question them, they've usually done their homework.
In other words, they may well have spoken to other witnesses who have given an account of the story that is not the same as the criminal defendant's story. So, when they talk to the police, they end up saying something that contradicts what the witness says.
So, now the police will use that against them in order to show that they're not telling the truth and a lot of times successfully prosecute them.
Police Are Not Trying To Help You
One thing you have to realize is, the police are not your friend. They're not trying to help you. They're in the competitive business of ferreting out crime.
So, in criminal cases — especially in Los Angeles — a lot of times we have a jump to a conclusion that the person is guilty. Then from there, attacking the person trying to get incriminating evidence from them.
Thy are not looking at the situation with an open mind and ask the questions looking at the prospective of prosecuting the person and getting the conviction. So, obviously this is a situation that is ripe for problems and it is not a good idea, at least in my opinion to talk to the police.
There are some exceptions where I have had my client talk to the police. For example, if the police don't have certain information that my client can give them that will help the defense in the criminal case.
Then a lot of times I might have my client, at my direction, and with me being present, talk to the police so I can also add things in to make it clear exactly what happened in the criminal case.
Independent Investigation by Our Law Firm
Other times what we'll do in addition to making a statement, is we will go out and find witnesses, take witness statements through my investigator and then use those statements in order to show that a particular person is innocent of a crime.
So, now you've got witnesses who are countering what the prosecutors are saying and you have the defendant giving a statement. Obviously, you want the statement to be in conjunction with whatever the client has said.
So, now that starts to give you an opportunity to attack the prosecution's case and show that your client is innocent and give another side to the story. It usually can be documented through your investigator when you use those witnesses.
So, long story short, I would say it is never a good idea to give a statement to the police unless your attorney believes it is in your best interests to do so and your attorney is directing you through that particular statement.
Never a Good Idea to Give Statement to Police
You trying to give the statement by yourself is not a good idea and is very dangerous because you are not getting a fair shake when it comes to giving that statement. That's the problem. If you are given a fair shake that might be a different story, but when you have law enforcement just simply looking to get you so to speak.
That's usually a recipe for disaster in a situation where you don't want the police being able to get your statement.
So, if you have either given a statement to the police or it's at the pre-filing stage and you're thinking about giving a statement to the police, hire somebody like me who has been doing it for a long time.
Tell me the story in the privacy of my office and it is protected by the attorney-client privilege and then let me figure out exactly how we're going to deal with the police.
Also, what we're going to say, and I can call them up and give them whatever other information you want to give them, and this way you're not going to do or say anything to incriminate yourself, because it is going to be me who is doing the talking for you.
Hedding Law Firm is a top-ranked criminal defense law firm located in Los Angeles County at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436. Contact our firm for a free case evaluation at (213) 542-0979.