The Police Called Me. What Should I Do?
Getting a phone call from a police officer or detective can be a frightening experience. If you have been contacted by law enforcement authorities informing you that you are under investigation, it is important to contact a criminal defense attorney right away. In some cases, police take advantage of the subject’s ignorance of the law and his or her rights. You may inadvertently say something that could lead police to charge you with a crime.
Know Your Rights
Police investigations may look fascinating on television, but it’s an entirely different story when you are the target of one. Furthermore, television crime dramas rarely offer an accurate portrayal of police investigations. When police conduct an investigation, their goal is to charge an individual with a crime. They are trained in tactics designed to elicit important information and even confessions from people. In many cases, they use pressure, threats, and promises to compel people to offer potentially incriminating information.
You are not required to participate – Under Texas law, you have no legal obligation to volunteer to speak with police or detectives. If you start to participate in a police interview, you also have the right to stop speaking to police at any time.
You have the right to remain silent – Most people are familiar with the right to remain silent, as it is part of the Miranda Warning frequently recited to arrestees on television. What many people fail to realize is that the police don’t have to inform you of your Miranda rights until you are in police custody. In other words, if you are not free to leave, the police must inform you of your right to remain silent. However, you always have the right to stay silent in front of the police, aside from answering basic questions about your name and other basic information.
You can have a lawyer with you – If you are the subject of a police investigation, you have the right to have legal counsel present during any police interrogation.