What Should I Do if the Police Call Me and Want to Talk?
Many people wait in fear of getting a call from the police. If you know that you're under investigation for a crime or believe that the police may show up at your door, you need to speak to a qualified criminal defense lawyer immediately. The best defense is a good offense, and it's in your best interest to be proactive when the police call you for questioning. In the Fort Lauderdale or West Palm Beach vicinity, Weinstein Legal offers top-tier criminal defense to those accused of crimes. Contact us before the police show up at your door and want to talk.
Your Constitutional Rights
Many people say they're familiar with their rights, but they actually only know what they've learned on television shows. If you believe that you may be facing criminal charges, it's really in your best interest to know what you can and can't do concerning police encounters.
The Right to Remain Silent
Under the Fifth Amendment, you have the right to refuse to answer questions that can implicate you in a crime. You can invoke this right immediately upon contact with the police. You do not have to be arrested or charged with a crime. In most instances, remaining silent until you can speak to an attorney is in your best interest. If anything, your criminal defense lawyer can guide your answers.
If the police arrest you or have you in temporary custody, they are required to advise you of your Miranda Rights before asking you questions. If they fail to do this, any statements you provide can't legally be used in court. Your attorney would have to file a motion to dismiss, and your charges can be thrown out. However, this does not mean you should talk just because you know what you say is likely inadmissible. The police can always pursue your case via independent lines of investigation.
The Right to Legal Counsel
You have the right to have an attorney present when answering questions, but the first thing a professional criminal defense lawyer is going to tell you is to not answer questions. Keep this in mind if the police ever show up and ask to speak to you. Your lawyer would probably tell you not to answer their questions until they had a chance to review any discovery evidence against you. Even if you've already talked to the police, you should still hire a criminal defense lawyer. It may be too late to stop the police from having your statement, but you are still entitled to a criminal defense.
The Right to Refuse a Search
Police officers need a warrant to search your home, vehicle, person, or property. Otherwise, they need to have a valid warrantless exception to conduct a search. You can waive your Fourth Amendment right to privacy, but that's not usually a good idea from a criminal defense standpoint. If you're unsure about whether or not you should allow the police to search you or your property, contact your attorney.
Avoiding Confusion About Stops, Arrests, and Miranda
People are often confused about consensual encounters, stops, and arrests. As a rule, you should not agree to talk to the police without your attorney, regardless of the circumstances surrounding your contact.
Consensual Encounters – The police are able to ask you questions without reading you your Miranda Rights. If you're free to leave, the Miranda Warning doesn't apply. You can ask the police if you're free to go. If their answer is yes, you probably should leave and call your criminal defense lawyer.
Stops – The police can stop you if they suspect a violation of the law or suspicious activity. The legal standard for a stop is reasonable suspicion. They can even stop you for matching the description of a criminal suspect. You are not free to walk away from a stop, so if they question you, they must advise you of your Miranda Rights. If they let you go, you should ask the officers for a case number and their identity.
Arrest – In order to make an arrest, the police must have probable cause that you committed a crime. That means that the evidence indicates that it's more likely than not that you committed a crime. If the police want to question you after an arrest, they must advise you of your Miranda Rights. Otherwise, they jeopardize their case.
Being placed in handcuffs or in the back of a police cruiser does not necessarily mean that you're under arrest. You should not, however, try to talk your way out of an arrest by providing information that could incriminate you. Wait to speak to a lawyer.
Frequently Asked Questions about Police Encounters
If you've been contacted by the police or you're anticipating a police encounter, it's in your best interest to speak to a Florida criminal defense attorney about your charges. Nothing is costlier than making a mistake during a police interview, so call now.
What Does it Mean When the Police Want to Talk to You?
The person who would best know this is you. If you know that you were involved in a crime, you already know that the police want to try to tie you to it. The fact that they are showing up to talk may mean that they don't have sufficient probable cause to make an arrest. This should, however, be a warning that the police suspect you and are trying to build a case against you. Even if you know you weren't involved in a crime, you should wait to speak to an attorney. The police make invalid arrests all of the time.
Can the Police Make You Talk to Them?
Many people ask themselves, “Do I have to talk to the police if they call me?” The answer is no. You have a Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. You are required to identify yourself if you're stopped or arrested, but not during a consensual encounter. Otherwise, you don't have to provide answers to any questions.
What Do You Do if a Cop Calls You?
Occasionally, the police will try to cover more ground by calling suspects, witnesses, and persons of interest on the phone to narrow down their leads. If you are involved in the crime, it may not be in your best interest to provide the police with information that they don't already have. Remember that whatever you say on the phone can be used against you in a criminal prosecution. Because you're on the phone, the interview would not be considered a custodial interrogation, and the police won't remind you of your Miranda Rights.
Criminal Defense Lawyer in Broward and Palm Beach County
If you have been contacted by the police, they're giving you an opportunity to begin preparing your defense before they make an arrest. Don't use this time wondering, “Why would the police call me for questioning?” You need to start making preparations. Contact the Weinstein Legal Team to discuss your case with our criminal defense lawyer under the protection of attorney-client anonymity. Call now!