Should I Go To the Police Station to Answer Questions?Published: Jul 17, 2019 in Criminal Defense
When a crime has been committed, but the perpetrator is not immediately suspected, the police must conduct a thorough investigation. They will examine the crime scene, gather and analyze evidence such as DNA and other substances, question witnesses, and eventually create a pool of suspects. If you are a person of interest during a criminal investigation, a police officer may call you or show up on your doorstep and ask you to come to the police station to answer some questions. You should not go to the station and meet with an officer until you have spoken with a criminal investigation attorney.
Should You Go to the Police Station to Answer Questions?
You should not go to the police station for an interview until you have obtained legal representation. You should always talk with an experienced lawyer about whether answering questions is in your best interests. Depending on the circumstances, your attorney may advise you to decline answering any inquiries from the police.
If you are not a suspect and can safely answer the officer’s questions without potentially incriminating yourself, then your criminal investigation attorney may arrange for you to talk with the police – while your lawyer is present, of course.
What to Say When an Officer Asks You to Come to the Station
When an officer contacts you about doing an interview, you do not have to go with them or immediately agree to a time. In fact, you shouldn’t. Your response should be that you are happy to cooperate after you have spoken with an attorney. Ask for the officer’s name and contact information, and tell them you and your lawyer will be in touch.
An officer might not like this response. They may try to intimidate you and say something like, “it will be worse if you do not cooperate,” or “we will take you down to the station.”
Politely, but firmly reiterate to the officer that you are happy to cooperate after you have spoken with an attorney.
What if the Police Arrest You After You Say No?
One reason people tend to agree to go to the police station to answer questions is that they are worried they will be arrested. No one wants an arrest on their record. However, this is not a good reason to put yourself in a possibly incriminating position.
If you decline to go to the police station to answer questions and the officer chooses to arrest you, you should cooperate. Do not argue, struggle, or try to run away. Once you have been arrested and booked into jail, the officer may once again try to ask you questions. Your immediate and only response should be, “I am invoking my right to remain silent. I want an attorney.”
Once you have invoked your right to an attorney after an arrest, the officer is required to stop asking you questions until you obtain legal representation.
An Officer Can Not Compel You to Answer Questions
It is important to realize that during a pre-arrest investigation and during a post-arrest interrogation, an officer cannot force you to answer questions. You always have the right to decline to answer, and after an arrest, you have the constitutionally-protected right to remain silent.
That does not mean an officer will not try to get you to answer questions. Police officers are allowed to lie, manipulate, and intimidate witnesses, persons of interest, suspects, and defendants. It is up to you to hire an experienced criminal investigation attorney and maintain your right to remain silent or to answer questions when appropriate.
Have You Been Contacted by the Police?
Attorney Ned Barnett will protect your rights during a criminal investigation. With him by your side, you may be able to avoid an arrest or criminal charges. If you have been contacted by the police about doing an interview, call The Law Offices of Ned Barnett at (713) 222-6767. You can also schedule a free consultation of your case by reaching out through the online form.