By: Mark Diaz
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Galveston Defense Attorney Gives Reasons Not To Talk To The Police Without A Lawyer
Now, to be clear, what we’re talking about here is when you’re a suspect. You need to talk to the police if you’re a victim. You don’t need a lawyer to speak to the police if you’re a victim of a crime. If you find yourself a suspect, then yes, you want to have a lawyer.
Suspected Of A Crime
If you’re a suspect, what they’re trying to do is get evidence against you. I guess it is some people’s instinct to think they can talk themselves out of a situation. When it’s a police matter, let me assure you that you cannot.
Most of the time, all the time in felony cases, it’s not even the officer’s choice to make an arrest or accept charges. The officers have to call the DA office intake desk and tell whoever’s doing intake duty, a felony prosecutor, what happened, what the circumstances are, and then that felony prosecutor will authorize charges, and the officer will effect an arrest.
It’s not like out on the street, the officer gets to decide, you know, I’m going to arrest this guy, but I’m not going to arrest that guy just doesn’t work like that. So you’re not going to be able to talk yourself out of the situation if you find yourself a suspect.
Speaking to the officers is going to do nothing. For one it will allow them to try and dig information out of you. Also, talking to the police is going to lock you down to a story. It’s very difficult to change that story moving forward. You never want to speak to the police.
Police Are Allowed To Lie To You
The police are allowed to lie to you. You’ve probably seen it in the movies, they’ll lie to a suspect and tell them they have DNA or they have hair or some evidence linking to the crime when they don’t have it, and then the person ends up confessing.
It’s a long-standing tradition upheld by the Supreme Court, the police can lie to you when they’re questioning you. That’s a tactic that they use. If they’re questioning you and your friend, and they’re telling you that your friend is in the other room, and he’s already said that you did X, Y, and Z, they could be lying to you.
I mean you really shouldn’t even be at that point. You should demand an attorney. I once had a case. This is 100% true. I watched the body cam. The officers wanted to question my client. They have him in the car already. An officer opens the back door and says we want to talk to you, he says get my lawyer down here and I’ll talk to you right now.
Officer says nah, man we just want to talk to you for a second. My client responded, get my lawyer down here. He says if you bring my phone I’ll call him right now. Well, of course, The cops never called me or never let him call me because they didn’t want him to lawyer up. We ended up getting that case dismissed because he had invoked his right to counsel. The police officers tried to ignore it.
You Have The Right To Remain Silent
You have the right to remain silent, and you absolutely should remain silent. Now, that doesn’t mean that you need to be ugly or disrespectful about it. I told you, my client was on a bodycam. So he was calling me by name saying get my lawyer Mark Diaz down here. However, he was very calm. He was rational, he wasn’t being rude. In other words, don’t escalate the situation.
We find this a lot in victim cases, where the suspect is no longer at the scene where the police have been called. The officers will try to call the suspect and try to get them to come in for questioning. Those people call me a lot.
Again, my answer is always the same. Absolutely not, call the officer back, though, and tell them you have spoken to lawyer Mark Diaz, and he said, if you want to interview me, call him. I’ve never gotten that call because the officers don’t want to talk to the lawyer. It’s not going to help their case, I’m not going to let them trap my client.
Police Are Well Trained In Interrogation Techniques
The other reason you never want to talk is that, depending upon the level of officer that you’re dealing with, they have gone to school and received training in questioning suspects. They will intentionally try to trick you up on certain things, depending on which interview technique they’re using.
The problem is, even if you don’t say anything incriminating against yourself, the answers that you give can appear to be deceitful, which then hurts your credibility. All these things are going through the officer’s mind, but you don’t know it.
So you think, you’re giving the right answers that are the answers they want to hear. It’s possible that when we play that back because it’s usually recorded, audio and video of any interviews. When we play that back, a prosecutor is looking at it, they will point to those little tricks, or the stumble-ups to make it appear as though you were being dishonest.
When that was the intent the whole time, to ask you questions to get you confused, to get you fuzzy so that you’re unclear. This, in their mind, translates to unreliability. That’s the other thing that you always need to take into consideration is, your encounter with these officers is likely being recorded. Either on a body cam, an office camera, even if you don’t see it you are likely being recorded.
That’s why I said when you invoke your right to counsel or you let the officers know that you wish to exercise your right to remain silent, that you do it respectfully. If you’re on video, looking like a jerk, then it’s a problem, or it can be. So it’s important to remain respectful and just invoke your right to counsel and tell them you don’t want to answer any questions and talk to your lawyer present.
I’ve been licensed since 1998 and I can’t recall ever having sat in on an interview with my client as a suspect, I can’t think of a situation where that would be a good idea. We have other ways to deal with pending charges, including maybe doing a grand jury presentation.
You Are Not Going To Talk Your Way Out Of Trouble
The problem is the officer who’s interviewing you. Again, if you’ve gotten to that point, we’re probably talking about a felony, it’s not even going to be his decision whether or not to affect charges or get a warrant for your arrest. It’s going to be up to some district attorney to whom the officer gives his report, to then decide whether or not they want to accept charges against you.
Again, a lot of people have this natural response that they think they can easily talk their way out of trouble. You’re not going to be able to, you’re going to talk your way into a charge most of the time. At the very least, you’re going to talk me, as your attorney, into trying to defend whatever story you put out there. Which is not a good position either.
As the defense attorney, I want to be able to control the narrative if we get to court. If you’ve already locked me into a position, then that’s harder for me to do. Just like the officers trying to trick you in interrogation, I’ve spent 20 plus years defending cases. I like to decide on what our defense strategy is going to be, I don’t want you to have locked me into a strategy that I know may not work. Those are all obvious reasons not to talk to the police.
Call A Galveston County Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you have been charged with a crime or are being investigated for a possible crime in the Galveston County area you need to call an experienced Galveston criminal defense lawyer. Call Mark Diaz at 409) 515-6170.