It is never in your best interest to talk to police officers if they are investigating a felony or misdemeanor crime in which you are the suspect. The police are not your friends! They only care about arresting someone they think committed a crime. Police officers will lie in order to get a person to confess to the crime they are investigating or lie in order to make the suspect say something that will make them look guilty. I have heard of and read about numerous lies over the course of my career as a criminal defense attorney in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
For example, I had one client who was told by a police officer that he could smell marijuana in my client’s glove compartment. Of course, no marijuana was found there. The police officer threatened to get a search warrant based on the fact that he could “smell” marijuana. My client caved in and handed him a joint that was in the back seat of his car, in a medical prescription container, which was in a gym bag. Yeah, I’m sure the officer smelled marijuana.
Another story deals with a gentleman who was out on his boat and the coast guard stopped by to do a safety inspection. The gentleman’s boat passed the inspection but the coast guard officer insisted they were felons and he could search the boat. This lie caused the guy to hand over a small joint that he had for medical purposes. Of course, the federal government doesn’t recognize medical marijuana so he’ll probably be charged with possession of marijuana.
Even if police aren’t lying to get a conviction, it’s still not wise to talk to a law enforcement agent if they are investigating you for a crime. I have gone over numerous police reports with my clients and I am told consistently that my clients words and actions are twisted in such a way to put my clients into the worst possible light.
In fairness to police officers, they have dealt with numerous people who have lied to them over the years. However, this causes police officers to start thinking that everyone they deal with is probably lying or guilty of the crime they are investigating.
When a police officer shows up at your work or home and starts asking questions, it is much harder to resist and exercise your right to remain silent. This is in part because we were trained to respect authority and trained to be polite.
Because the police know you’re more likely to answer questions, if you’re surprised, they will try their hardest to catch you off guard. When a suspect is off guard, they are more likely to talk and not seek the help of legal counsel.
Because of the reasons listed above, it is in your best interest to talk to and hire a competent criminal defense attorney before you ever thinking of talking to the police. If you feel you must give a statement to the police officer, your attorney can help you write a written statement that will give the prosecutor investigating the case a truthful report about what you did or didn’t do. Never talk to police when you are being investigated for a crime. Always talk to a competent criminal defense lawyer first!
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