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Should I Talk To The Police 

Law Office of James G. Burke, III Aug. 30, 2022

The police have arrested you or come to your door and they want to talk to you, what should I do? As a general rule, if you are a suspect and/or a person of interest you should talk with a lawyer first before talking to the police. Remember, you have the right to remain silent and anything you say will be used against you. 

Why should you talk to a lawyer before talking to the police? First, a lawyer is versed in the areas of the law that a laymen may not be aware of. For example, a person arrested for the rape of a teenage minor may unknowingly implicate themselves by talking to the police. When questioned by the police, the client may deny the rape charge. So far, so good, right? Wrong! The police will downplay the rape charge and suggest the client faces no legal jeopardy if he or she admits the sex was consensual. Should the client admit to having consensual sex, he or she may have just confessed to carnal knowledge of a juvenile. By admitting to having consensual sex, the client has ensured he will be arrested and the admission of having sex with the alleged victim may not absolve him or her of the rape charge. A lawyer can prevent this. 

A lawyer can also talk to the police and find out if their client is a suspect in the case. If a client is a suspect, a lawyer will probably advise his client to invoke his right to remain silent. If the client is not a suspect, a lawyer can attend the interview and shut down questioning if the lawyer feels his client may be in legal jeopardy. 

When a client comes to my office, I usually advise my clients to refrain from talking to the police. When I am initially retained, I usually know nothing about the case other than what my client has told me. As a careful lawyer, I must assume my client has either intentionally or unintentionally left out important pieces of information that may be incriminating. Moreover, I must consider the police have incriminating information against my client that I am unaware of.  

In my thirty years of practice, I have only allowed my clients to talk to the police on a few occasions and only after I fully investigated the case. This includes a thorough interview of client and vetting of their case. If there are witnesses, I would want to interview them and see if they corroborate my client’s story. Before I let my client talk to the police, I want to possess as much, if not more information than the police. By doing so, I can be reasonably assured my client’s statement will assist their case, instead of hurting it.