It starts with a phone call or maybe a knock on the door. A detective wants to speak with you about a "matter" - without going into any details.
You know what the "matter" is, even though the detective never mentions it specifically.
What do you do?
Let's say the investigator is looking into something you did. Something that was illegal.
Here is what you should do - DON'T TALK to the detective. I am sorry to shout, but it is very important.
If the police officer is at your door wanting to talk about the "matter", tell them you aren't speaking to them without an attorney present.
If the police call you and ask you to come to the station, make sure you call an attorney before you do anything else.
Not talking to the police about your "matter" is the first step. Your next step is to call an experienced criminal defense attorney, and speak to them.
Your attorney is the only one you can speak to with full candor - they can't legally tell anyone.
When people come to me for help in this type of situation, I first listen to them carefully to find out all of the details - then I discuss with them their options.
In 99% of these cases, it is better for the client to not speak to the police.
I contact the detective on my client's behalf, and inform them that my client is invoking their 5th Amendment right, and will not be giving a statement.
In some cases, the investigation ends and the client never gets charges filed against them for the "matter".
Other times, there is enough other evidence available and charges are filed - even without a confession.
But even when charges are filed, it will be a much better case to fight when there is no confession from my client.
If you are facing criminal charges, your best result can be achieved when the government's case against you is weak. When you give a confession, their case against you can be very strong.
Even if you are completely innocent and believe you have nothing to hide, you might accidentally implicate yourself if you answer the detective's questions.
The fact that you are being questioned at all means that you are a suspect - at least on some level.
If you invoke your right to remain silent, that fact cannot be used against you in court. In other words, the jury is not allowed to hear that you did not answer questions from the police because you "took the 5th".
If you did give a statement to the police, it is possible for your attorney to file a motion to suppress and argue to have the statement kept out of evidence - this will require evidence that the police violated your rights in obtaining the statement.
You should speak with an attorney before making any decisions regarding serious legal matters such whether or not to speak to the police.
I offer a free consultation if you would like to discuss your legal matter.