You’ve heard this before: you have the right to remain silent. This means that you cannot be forced to make a statement to police, no matter how many times you are asked. This advice applies to any criminal case, even if you have already been arrested and charged.
So – if a detective contacts you and asks you to make a statement, what should you do?
Contact a criminal attorney immediately and let him or her decide to speak with the detective on your behalf.
Why You Should Not Make a Statement
One of the greatest misconceptions about the law is that the police are able to ensure a better “deal” if a person confesses to a crime. In reality, the prosecutor is the only person who can make “deals”, including plea agreements and immunity. In the Superior Court, where all felonies are handled, this is the role of the District Attorney. The prosecutors who work for the elected District Attorney are called Assistant District Attorneys. In the State Court, where all misdemeanors are handled, this is the role of the Solicitor General. The prosecutors who work for the elected Solicitor General are called Assistant Solicitors.
Even if you believe you are innocent, don’t be wary about consulting an attorney if you’ve been asked to make a statement to a detective. The reasons being:
- When in a stressful situation, people often share a lot of unnecessary information and this could potentially be to your detriment;
- You may unintentionally make a mistake that is construed as a lie, which could be used against you if prosecution is initiated;
- Responses that are truthful might provide what is seen as incriminating evidence or motive;
- There are proven instances when only portions of statements and interviews are presented to the court and, if shown out of context, can be damaging;
- It can be challenging to tell the same story twice in exactly the same way, even when it is the truth. Even if only minor details change, an experienced prosecutor can use this to question the credibility of the accused or even make it look like an intentional lie.
Ultimately, criminal defense attorneys agree that it is never a good idea to voluntarily speak with the police. If you have been contacted by a detective who wants you to make a statement, our advice is to call the experienced Don Turner Legal Team and let us start preparing your defense today!