You might find a detective's business card at your home or workplace, or the detective left you a voicemail requesting a callback. Don't panic—there are many reasons a detective might reach out to you. You could be a potential witness in a criminal case; you could be connected to an incident they are currently investigating; or you are the suspect or target of a criminal investigation. (A target is a person whom the prosecution believes there is strong evidence that person has committed a crime). It's crucial to think carefully about your next steps, especially if you are a suspect or a target.
Do I Call the Detective?
You might feel inclined to call the detective, particularly if you believe you didn’t do anything wrong. However, be aware that your call will be recorded and anything you say could be used against you in a court of law. You should avoid lying and guessing when you do not know the answer to a question -doing so can only create problems for you later on. While calling back might seem okay, remember that detectives can be strategic in their questioning, and your responses could significantly impact your situation.
The Detective's Playbook: Navigating Tricky Interactions
In most cases, it is permissible for detectives to use deception during questioning. While the use of physical coercion is strictly forbidden in interrogations, detectives are still equipped with numerous effective psychological tactics to obtain confessions. Their primary goal is to investigate a crime, which can sometimes involve using persuasive tactics. Simple, honest answers might inadvertently incriminate you, placing you at the wrong place at the wrong time. Changes or inconsistencies in your story, even if unintentional, can lead to increased scrutiny and potentially your arrest.
What to Say (and Not Say) to a Detective
When contacted by a detective, it's best to remain tight-lipped. While being respectful and confirming your identity is okay, avoid answering other questions. Instead, consult a criminal defense attorney immediately. Remember, do not try talking your way out of being arrested. You can only be arrested if there is probable cause. But talking to the police can may lead to your arrest.
Seeking Legal Counsel: Your Best Move
If a detective asks questions beyond basic identification, say that you must have an attorney present. Insist on this approach even if the detective tries to pressure you further. Be respectful and firm. Remember, you have a Constitutional right to say nothing. We suggest you tell the detective the following; “I wish to assert my 5th Amendment right to remain silent.” The detective will understand that and should back off. You should hire an attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer can then handle all communications, reducing the risk of self-incrimination.
How a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
A criminal defense attorney can act on your behalf, to learn the investigation's nature and strategize to protect your freedom. They can handle communications with the detective, allowing you to avoid direct and potentially harmful questioning and ultimately incriminating yourself.
Avoiding Detective Dodging
Ignoring or avoiding a detective's attempts to contact you can escalate the situation, leading to a warrant or even an arrest. It is better to have your attorney respond.