Should I Make A Statement To Police If I Am Being Investigated For A Crime
The short answer is no. Thousands of people are currently sitting in jail because they inadvertently made incriminating statements to the police. Law enforcement officials are not interested in protecting your rights. They just want to close their case and put you in jail. While you cannot talk your way out of trouble by making a statement, you can destroy your chances of winning at trial.
Why You Shouldn't Talk To The Police
There are four primary reasons you should refuse to give a statement.
- Hearsay rules - The rules of evidence guarantee that you can only hurt yourself by talking to the police. If you give a convincing explanation of your innocence, your statement will be considered hearsay, and no one can testify about it in court. However, there is an exception to the hearsay rule called an admission by a party opponent. Under this exception, if you say something that tends to show that you are guilty, it can be admitted as evidence.
- Better to talk to the prosecutor - The police do not have the power to offer you a deal. The prosecutor's office makes recommendations on sentencing, not the police department. Anything you want to say the police will do more good if you wait to say it to the prosecutor assigned to your case.
- Risk of contradictions - Even innocent people contradict themselves under stress. The police will record everything you say. Each time you explain what happened, you risk introducing minor inconsistencies. The prosecution will use these contradictions at trial to argue that you were hiding something from the police.
- Risk of a false confession - Interrogation is a science, and many police officers are extremely good at it. They will make you want to confess even if you did nothing wrong. Many inmates who have been proven innocent by DNA evidence and released from prison were wrongfully convicted because they confessed to a crime they did not commit. Avoid this manipulation by refusing to make a statement.
Ask To Speak To A Lawyer
Even if you believe you can clear yourself of the charges, you should never talk to the police without consulting a lawyer. The police will try to manipulate your words and cast doubt on your story. Speak to an experienced criminal defense lawyer before making any statements.