What To Do If The Police Are Investigating You?
Learning of a police investigation will likely leave you feeling upset. It is important to handle the situation calmly and competently, but what are the steps? A criminal defense lawyer will usually tell people to take the following 5 steps.
You don't want to have a situation where you're acting without the advice of a criminal defense attorney. Before you do anything else, ask a law firm for a consultation. A lawyer can discuss what's happening with you so you can decide whether you need to present a criminal defense and how you might do so.
Document Contacts with Police
Whenever you come into contact with the police, document it. Make a simple note of when the contact occurred in a day planner or calendar. Even simply seeing a cop counts as a contact for documentation purposes. If the police asked you anything or were doing anything, write a small note of what it was about. Likewise, if you recognize any of the officers, include their names.
Only Speak with Police with Counsel Present
You want to have a criminal defense attorney next to you whenever you speak to the cops. Even if they claim they just want to ask a few questions, they can wait until your counsel shows up. If the police detain or arrest you, assert your right to counsel repeatedly until your lawyer shows up.
Also, assert your right to remain silent. If your criminal defense lawyer thinks it's worth answering any of the cops' questions, they'll tell you so once they get there. Until your attorney appears, simply repeat that you're asserting your right to remain silent whenever the police ask you anything.
Refrain from Conversations with Others About the Investigation
It is tempting to want to learn what others might know about a police investigation. However, talking with other people can create the appearance of conspiring to obstruct justice. If someone knows something relevant to your case, your criminal defense attorney can always ask the question for you. Even if you live with people who might know about the investigation, the smart move is to not discuss the situation with them.
Keep Potential Evidence
Preserve anything that might be evidence in a potential criminal defense case. Even if you're worried the cops can use it against you, don't dispose of it or destroy it. This opens up the risk of the police claiming you deliberately destroyed the evidence to interfere with the investigation. Discuss the possible evidence with a criminal defense lawyer so they can assess the situation and tell you what to do.