Know when to hold ’em….

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November 6, 2012 by williamsjustliving

The immortal words of Kenny Rogers are appropriate here.

When it comes to making statements to the police, you HAVE TO know when to hold your tongue. You should always remain silent once you have been arrested; you should also remain silent any time you are placed in handcuffs or placed into the back of a police car. Even if you are not read your Miranda rights, you can save yourself and your lawyer from having to make motions to suppress if you remain silent. If you are offered a “deal” and you cannot afford a lawyer, ask for an attorney from the local public defender’s office before you say anything else. If you are offered a “deal” and you have not yet contacted your lawyer, ask to contact your lawyer before you say anything else. The District Attorney is NOT your lawyer.

There is, however, another situation in which you should be cautious: when police officers are asking you questions about someone you know.

1. Do you know and understand the exact reason for which the police officers are asking questions?

2. If the police officers tell you that they cannot divulge the reason for which they are asking questions, ask them to provide you as much information as possible, including relevant dates and behaviors they would like to know about.

3. Do not feel compelled to quickly say anything “good” about the person. Likewise, do not feel compelled to say anything “bad” about the person either. In fact, do not feel compelled to say anything quickly and, most importantly, do not lie to the police officers. Once you’ve said it, your words cannot be taken back.

4. Will your identity be revealed in police reports? Police reports are generally documents that defense lawyers, defendants, and prosecutors look at. Do you have any qualms about your name being mentioned in a police report? Ask the officers about this.

5. Is there a chance that you will be asked to testify (or even subpoenaed to testify) before a grand jury or a jury? The officers may or may not know the answer to this question, but ask anyway.

If for any reason you do not feel comfortable at that very moment talking to the officers, kindly ask for their contact information or for the contact information of the Assistant District Attorney assigned to the case. Take some time, collect your thoughts, and possibly even consult an attorney you trust. If the police officers think the information that you could provide is important, they will follow-up with you.

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