Do not talk to an investigator. Call a lawyer.
When a detective or investigator calls you, your first instinct is to answer and reply, especially when you feel you’re innocent and you have nothing to hide. That would be a big mistake. A lawyer would advise against talking with an investigator on your own.
You don’t have to talk to an investigator directly. Your attorney can do it for you.
Why would an investigator want to talk to you?
If an investigator wants to talk to you, it’s probably because of one (or both) of two reasons:
- You’re a possible suspect, either as principal, accomplice, or accessory.
- You’re a witness.
Just to be safe, it’s a good idea to always presume you’re a suspect and act accordingly. Which is, don’t talk to the investigator. They may trick you and act like you’re a witness. Don’t fall for it.
You’re a suspect
If you are a suspect and the investigator has invited you for questioning, there are two scenarios:
- They will arrest you immediately when you arrive for questioning because they have probable cause to believe that you have committed a crime; or
- They do not have probable cause to make an arrest yet. They are hoping that, by talking to you, they are able to gather more evidence to bolster their case so they can arrest you in the future.
Do not give these investigators the opportunity to strengthen their case. Let them get their evidence elsewhere. Just because you refuse to talk to them without a lawyer present does not mean you are guilty. It just means you are smart enough to exercise your rights.
When an investigator calls you and invites you for questioning, get the phone number and then call a defense attorney immediately. The defense attorney will call the investigator and will serve as your buffer with law enforcement. Your defense attorney will tell the investigator that he is representing you. Your attorney will ask the investigator whether the investigator wants to arrest you. There are only two answers: yes, I want to arrest, or no, I am not going to make an arrest.
Will make an arrest
If the investigator wants to make an arrest, it means the investigator believes he has enough evidence to show probable cause that you have committed the crime. Your defense attorney can make arrangements for a convenient time and date for you to surrender. Why look for a convenient time? So you can post bail immediately and don’t have to wait a day or more in jail to appear before the judge.
If the investigator does not want to make an arrest, it means the investigator does not have a case. Because you are now legally represented, the investigator cannot question you without your lawyer present. The investigator also knows he will not be able to get a statement from you. If he wants to strengthen his case, he should obtain evidence elsewhere.
You’re a witness
Even if the investigator is inviting you for questioning as a witness, it is still better to call your defense attorney. Although most investigators search for the truth, some investigators only seek a person to blame. Don’t be that person to blame.
Investigators have various interrogation techniques that may compel you to say some things that you don’t mean. They will tell you that this is off-the-record, even if it is on-the-record. Sometimes, your words can be twisted to mean something else. Other times, these investigators will lie and tell you that another person told them this, making you believe something that will force you into make a confession or revelation.
Investigators are not on your side. They are not there to protect you. Should you talk to an investigator then? It’s better to not talk to the investigator. You are under no obligation to make any statement to them. But if you must, then do so with an attorney present. Having an attorney talk to your investigator is the wisest course of action. If you need a defense attorney, we at the Law Offices of Albert Goodwin are here for you. We have offices in New York, NY, Brooklyn, NY and Queens, NY. You can call us at 718-509-9774 or send us an email at email@example.com.