Over the years, I have had numerous clients approach me after they have been questioned by authorities and asked me whether they should have talked to them or not. The simplest answer is ‘no’ especially if you have any reason to believe they are questioning you because they believe you have committed a crime.
SIMPLE QUESTIONS CAN LEAD TO AN ARREST
Every day, police officers question hundreds of people. Sometimes it’s in the context of a traffic stop; other times it’s a run-in on the street; and other times it’s part of a larger investigation where the police come to the witness/suspect and question them. Too often police use the simplest questions to build a case against a person. For example, in a simple traffic stop if an officer wants to search the vehicle because he believes there are drugs in the car he may ask the driver where he has been and where he is going. He will then question the passenger about the same things. If he gets even slightly inconsistent answers, he will use that (among other things) to justify searching the car.
WITNESSES CAN GET ARRESTED
Even witnesses to criminal events have found themselves on the receiving end of charges when they simply thought they were helping the police (the Andrea Schneiderman case is a great example). The best course of action if you find yourself on the receiving end of questions by police is to simply tell them either that you don’t have to speak with them or that you would like to have a lawyer present when you do talk. Use common sense in this approach, however. If you get stopped for speeding, don’t resist turning over your license and registration, but you don’t have to answer a bunch of other questions about your comings and goings.
If you need to talk to an experienced lawyer about such issues, give me a call at 404-474-2531 for a free and confidential consultation.