Why is it important to contact an attorney right away?
In some cases, a good lawyer will represent your side of the case to the police or the prosecutor, even before a charge is filed. In other cases, it is best to remain silent. In either event, you will not know what your options are unless you talk to a lawyer right away.
What should I do if I suspect that I am under investigation for a criminal offense?
- When contacted by law enforcement, invoke your right to silence. Do not make admissions; do not confess; do not lie. Simply say, “I don’t want to speak with you.” Repeat this as many times as it takes. Confession may be good for the soul but it is the single most damaging thing you can do to yourself in a criminal investigation.
- When contacted by law enforcement, invoke your right to counsel. Tell the officer, “I want a lawyer.” Repeat this over and over. Be polite but firm.
- Do not allow yourself to be manipulated by the police. The best police interrogators are master manipulators. When an officer says, “Why do you need an attorney if you’re innocent?” he is attempting to manipulate you into waiving your constitutional rights to silence and counsel.
- Do not consent to any search. Always insist that the police get a search warrant.
- Do not take a police polygraph (lie detector) examination. Discuss whether a private polygraph examination is in your best interest with your attorney.
- Contact an experienced defense lawyer as soon as you believe you are under investigation.