Should I Go To the Police Station To Answer Questions?Published: Jun 23, 2023 in Criminal Defense
When a crime has been committed but the perpetrator is not immediately identified in Texas, the police must investigate. They will examine the crime scene, gather and analyze evidence, 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 or show up on your doorstep and ask you to come to the police station to answer questions. You should not go or answer questions until you’ve spoken with a Houston criminal defense attorney.
At The Law Offices of Ned Barnett, we can explain your rights during a criminal investigation and protest those rights when the police want to question you. Call (713) 222-6767 for a free and confidential consultation.
Don’t Go to the Police Station without a Lawyer
Whether they’re from the Houston Police Department, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, or federal agents, never go with law enforcement officers if they ask for an interview. You should wait until you have reliable and aggressive legal representation.
Once you’ve spoken to an experienced lawyer about your situation, you can determine when to answer questions or be silent. Your lawyer might decide it’s alright to answer questions if you aren’t a suspect or if you can safely answer without incriminating yourself. Your lawyer should be present whether you choose to cooperate or not.
What to Say When Police Ask You to Come In
Suppose a Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy 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.
Tell the deputy you are happy to cooperate after you’ve spoken with an attorney. Ask for their name and contact information. Tell them you and your lawyer will be in touch about setting up a time.
Although an officer in Houston might not like this response, they must accommodate your request. Sometimes, officers will try to intimidate you, saying, “It will be worse if you do not cooperate,” or “We will take you down to the station.”
As menacing as that is, you can still politely but firmly refuse to answer their questions . Tell the officer you are happy to cooperate after speaking with an attorney.
What If You Don’t Have a Lawyer in Houston
That’s ok. If police contact you regarding a criminal investigation, you can reach out to a reputable criminal defense lawyer in your area and discuss your circumstances and options. When you find an attorney you’re comfortable with, your attorney can arrange any necessary communications with the police.
Can the Police Arrest You After You Say No?
People tend to agree to go to the police station to answer questions because they’re 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 in Houston.
In some cases, the police might decide to arrest you if you refuse to answer questions. Cooperate with them; do not argue, struggle, or try to run. You’ll be booked into jail, and the officers might try questioning you again. Your only response should be, “I am invoking my right to remain silent. I want to contact an attorney.”
Once you’ve invoked your right to an attorney after an arrest, the officer must stop asking questions until you obtain legal representation.
An Officer Can Not Compel You to Answer Questions
It is important to realize that an officer cannot force you to answer questions during a pre-arrest investigation and a post-arrest interrogation. You might feel like this will make you look more guilty, but you always have the right to decline to answer an officer’s questions.
After an arrest, you have the constitutionally protected right to remain silent. The Fifth Amendment protects citizens from incriminating themselves. Your Houston defense attorney will be grateful you stood firm.
Police Use Tricks to Get Answers
The officer might try to get you to answer their questions. Their tactics are not always honest.
Police can lie, manipulate, and intimidate witnesses, persons of interest, suspects, and defendants. It is up to you to hire an experienced criminal attorney located in Houston and maintain your right to remain silent or to answer questions only when appropriate. To see how we can help you help with this case contact us for a free consultation.
FAQs About Police Questioning
Will Police Question Me if I’m Not a Suspect In Houston?
There might be a time when the police need information from you, and you aren’t a suspect. They could be looking to establish a suspect’s alibi, gathering information, or finishing witness statements about an incident. You can and should still have a criminal defense lawyer with you to ensure the police don’t overstep their boundaries.
Will the Prosecution Use My Silence Against Me?
If you exercise your right to silence during a criminal investigation being held in Houston, the prosecution cannot punish you for doing it. If you choose to testify during your trial, they might use your unwillingness to answer to undermine your credibility. An attorney will be able to help you navigate your trial plan.
What Happens if the Police Violate My Rights?
If the police don’t respect your rights, that could affect your case. Any evidence or statements they coerce out of you without an attorney present should be excluded or suppressed. Your Houston criminal defense attorney will examine the chain of evidence to find anything illegally collected against you. In some cases, you might be able to pursue a civil rights lawsuit against the agency that violated your rights.
What Happens if the Police Ask Questions After I Ask for a Lawyer?
Some officers think you’ll relent if they keep asking questions in Houston, Texas. Your best bet is to stay quiet. Reiterate that you are not volunteering any information, even if it might clear up confusion. It’s not your job or responsibility to solve the case. The police are looking for ways to trap you. Your lawyer, on the other hand, is there to ensure you are protected.
Contacted by the Police? Call Ned Barnett
If you have been contacted by the police about doing an interview, call the Houston criminal defense lawyers at The Law Offices of Ned Barnett at (713) 222-6767 for a free consultation. As a former prosecutor with decades of experience representing the accused, attorney Ned Barnett knows law enforcement’s tactics and is ready to defend you.
Attorney Ned Barnett will protect your rights during a criminal investigation and work to avoid an arrest or criminal charges.