If I am questioned by law enforcement, should I provide a statement?
It is never in your best interest to talk to law enforcement without an attorney. Police will often imply or promise that if a suspect cooperates, they may receive leniency or not be arrested. This is often untrue, and it is a common technique used by deceptive law enforcement agents to obtain incriminating statements to use against you at trial.
Also keep in mind that police are allowed to lie to you about the case and the state of the evidence to induce you to make a statement. For example, they will often claim that they have fingerprints, DNA, or other physical evidence that implies you are guilty. They may claim that they have you on camera, or that your co-defendant made a statement against you. Never let claims by the police about the state of the evidence induce you to make a statement.
You may think you are helping your case by making a statement. However, you may be hurting your case without knowing it through actions or statements that block potential defense strategies. For example, your statement about self defense may forgo a possible false identification defense, since now the police know you were at the scene of the incident. Always resist the temptation to speak with law enforcement without first having contacted an experienced defense attorney.
Instead, inform the law enforcement of the following:
- You are going to remain silent.
- You want to speak with an attorney immediately.
- If law enforcement agents keep trying to talk to you, don't say anything, even if they come back later and try to talk to you again.
The fact that you refused to speak with law enforcement cannot be used against you at trial. Do not panic, and do not allow law enforcement agents to bait you into giving up your rights.