People tend to get scared when the cops show up at their door. Whether it’s your work or your home, it’s always a daunting site when police come knocking for you. It’s even more unnerving when the knock at the door is by federal agents. Generally speaking, the FBI is about the best trained and most professional of all law enforcement agencies. They are well equipped, have excellent resources and conduct very thorough investigations.
One of the good things about dealing with professionals is that they tend not to be as intimidating. This is to say that they are not bullies. Mostly because they don’t have to be mean. They have the time to do things right. We must try and use their professionalism to our advantage. First, when you get the knock at the door, don’t open the door. This may sound strange, but when we open our doors to the police, or any other visitor, this is an implied invitation to allow them to enter. By leaving the door closed, we utilize the existing barrier between us and the police.
Next, ask for an opportunity to speak to a lawyer. Do this before any questioning begins. All too often clients tell me they just wanted to find out what the investigation was about. Or they just wanted to tell the police their side of the story. Or, even worse, they wanted cooperate with the police and answer all police questions out of fear that they would be arrested if they did not.
In this country we enjoy the absolute, constitutional right to remain silent. We have no requirement to cooperate with law enforcement. We have no mandate in the law to answer any police questions or affirmatively cooperate with their investigations. We do however, have a requirement to tell the truth if we do speak to the police. Lying to the police often causes more problems than not speaking to them in the first place. We cannot obstruct an investigation by lying to police or causing delays in their investigation. If confronted with questions by the police, don’t try and be evasive. Don’t try to outsmart the law. Ask to speak with a lawyer. Period. Police officers are trained to get incriminating information from witnesses or suspects associated with their investigations. Many of them are quite good at doing this. Don’t give them the chance.
You have the right to remain silent. If you give up this right, ANYTHING YOU SAY CAN, AND WILL, BE USED AGAINST YOU IN COURT. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford one, one will be appointed to you before any questioning. Exercise your rights. Don’t just refuse to answer questions, affirmatively ask to speak with a lawyer if confronted by the police.
If you or someone close to you is being investigated for criminal activity or has been arrested or charged with a crime, call an experienced lawyer who can help. Call a real lawyer who goes to court every day to serve clients, one client at a time.
Call me, attorney Jeffrey Vallens (818) 783-5700 or
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