You are contacted by the police and they have asked you to come down to the police station because they have some questions they want to ask you. You think, “if I don’t go then they are going to think I am not being cooperative and something bad may happen.” Worse, you think, “if I say I want to talk to my lawyer first, then they are going to think I have something to hide and must be guilty of something.” These are natural thoughts and fears that people have when contacted by the police during their investigation of a crime.
Oftentimes, people will go down to the police station alone and subject themselves to police questioning because they think, “I have nothing to hide, I did not do anything wrong, and even if I did, I can explain it away.” The result, they can find themselves confessing to a crime or implicating themselves in a criminal act.
So why have a lawyer present with you? Here are seven reasons to consider:
- To advise if you should answer questions at all,
- To protect your rights,
- To anticipate where the police are going in their line of questioning,
- To ask questions or get clarification to questions before you answer,
- To note what is said, what questions were asked, and how they were answered so nothing gets twisted,
- To provide support, so you won’t be intimidated or manipulated,
- To terminate the interview when necessary.
In short, it is always advisable to have an attorney present when being questioned by police during an investigation. You should consider it mandatory if you are a target, or a potential target, of the investigation.