You’re watching a rerun of your favorite sitcom when there is an assertive knock on your door. You pause the show just as your favorite part of the episode is about to happen. Maybe you’re chuckling a bit as you think about it.
When you open the door, you discover a couple of police officers.
That’s probably pretty alarming, but the officers try to put you at ease. They aren’t here to arrest you. They are merely conducting an investigation—and they would like to have your help. They assure you you’ll be back on your couch watching your show in no time.
What should you do? After all, unlike your sitcom, this is no laughing matter.
You should take the situation very seriously and talk to a lawyer right away.
The Truth About Police Investigations
Here are some key things to keep in mind when the police knock on your door:
- If you are under investigation by the police, odds are they have already decided you are guilty.
- The police are skilled at extracting statements that could be incriminating—or might be construed as a confession—even from people who are not guilty of anything.
- There are many, many people in prison right now who chose to talk with the police because they believed they “had nothing to hide.”
- You have a right to have your attorney present when you are questioned by the police.
How a Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help
We often think of a lawyer entering the picture after an arrest has been made. But the fact of the matter is that pre-arrest representation can be absolutely essential. Here are some of the ways a lawyer can help from the moment you are contacted by police about an investigation:
- A lawyer will immediately contact the investigating officers to let them know that you will not speak to them without your attorney present.
- Your lawyer will talk you through the pros and cons of talking with the police at this stage and will make a strong recommendation one way or the other.
- In many cases, talking with the police may not be wise. For example, in a “he said/she said” scenario, respectfully declining to speak with police may mean there is not enough evidence to use against you. Speaking with police opens you up to the risk of providing the evidence they need to make the arrest.
- If you and your attorney decide that talking with the police is a good idea, your lawyer will be on hand to prevent the officers from badgering you or violating your rights in any way. If necessary, your attorney will insist that the meeting comes to an immediate end.
- In the event that you are arrested, having had pre-arrest representation will work to your significant advantage because your attorney will be present at your first appearance bond hearing to ensure you are quickly released on bond.
You Need to Be Smart About Your Defense From the Start
Making the decision to talk with an attorney as soon as you realize you under investigation could very well be the difference between going to prison and going home to your family. Don’t let the police convince you to talk with legal representation. The risks are simply too high.
A skilled attorney can help make sure your rights are protected and, if necessary, defend you in court. The sooner you have representation, the more likely a good outcome becomes.
Contact an Okaloosa County Pre-Arrest Attorney
If you or a loved one are under investigation in Okaloosa County, call Flaherty & Merrifield today at (850) 403-6835 for a free consultation.