Honesty is the Best Policy But Silence is Golden
No! You should not talk to the police. No matter what you are charged with or suspected of doing, you should not say anything to the police without a lawyer present. People often think that innocent people would talk to the cops. But, words get twisted and then well-meaning people who were just trying to be honest and help themselves end up in jail or worse. So, do not speak to the police. Call us first.
We have have over two decades of combined experience in Monterey County courts. We understand that dealing with the police is an extremely stressful and frightening experience. This is worse if you don't have an experienced defense attorney protecting your rights. Every day, people throughout Salinas, Monterey and the surrounding areas are arrested and talk to the police because they are nervous. They think that if they talk it will help them.
There are some simple guidelines that anyone arrested for any charge from DUI to homicide should follow:
- Do not speak to the police without an attorney present. When dealing with the police, you have a right to remain silent and you should do so. You do not have to answer any questions. You may think that you can talk your way out of trouble, but you may accidentally reveal something that the police will use against you. Often, attorneys see clients who have spoken to the police without representation who have significantly damaged their chances in court. Unless you are experienced with our criminal justice system, you probably do not know the ins and outs of the law, and might admit to something that is illegal - even though you don't realize it. You could say something that the police officer will misinterpret as a confession. The officer could write down what you said incorrectly. In that case, you will eventually have to explain how the officer's version is wrong. In other words, you just made your situation more difficult for yourself.
- Be polite. You can refuse to answer questions without being combative. Simply say, "I'm sorry, I would rather talk to my lawyer before answering any questions."
- Get a lawyer to help deal with the police. If you do not have a lawyer prior to police questioning, the police must provide you with one if you request one. As soon as you ask for a lawyer, they are legally required to stop all questioning until your lawyer is present. This is true even if you cannot afford an attorney - one must be provided for you.
It will not always be easy to follow the above guidelines. Anyone who has been arrested and is dealing with the police is going to have trouble remaining silent in the face of police pressure. But, it's very important. Everything you say will be used against you!
The Salinas criminal defense attorneys at the Crawford Law Firm help people throughout Monterey County. Contact us immediately (831) 783-0222.