I am a suspect in a criminal case, but I haven’t been arrested yet. Do I need a lawyer? (Madeline Porter)
Well, the short answer is yes. Yes, you do need a lawyer. It’s never too early to hire an attorney, but it can be too late. Once something is said it cannot be unsaid. If you’ve ever watched any Live Pd or Law and Order or any show like that, you know that you have the right to remain silent and to have an attorney and all those good things, but what a lot of people fail to realize, until they’re in that situation is just how important those rights are to you and how important it is to exercise those rights. They’re there to protect you and you need to take advantage of that protection, and an attorney is the best person to help you do that. There are several reasons why. First of all, if the police call you in and they want to interview you, whether you’re a suspect in the case or a witness or anything like that, even a victim in a case, they might have ulterior motives. The police are allowed to lie to you. They can tell you that they have evidence that they don’t actually have, they can tell you that you’re, you know, they’re not trying to arrest you, they want you to leave and walk out of here. They might still actually want to arrest you. They say that they just want to get to the bottom of it, and they do, but getting to the bottom of it might mean that you leave that interview room in handcuffs and go straight to jail. A lot of times, people, they agree to talk to the police, they agree to be interviewed because, to be honest, they don’t want to seem like they are hiding something. They want to appear cooperative; they think that lawyering up makes them look guilty, they think it makes them look sketchy, and they don’t want to do that. So, they go in there alone, any they say statements, they might even admit to crimes or even things that they don’t think are crimes; they might make some incriminating statements that can be used against them later. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had cases that seemed really good and promising and then, come to find out, you know the person already admitted that they committed the crime to the police and that makes it a much harder case to defend. If they would have had a good attorney with them at the beginning perhaps, they wouldn’t have made those statements and we’d have a much better case now. Another thing that comes up pretty often is the police will want to do what’s called a phone dump. That’s basically where they either go through your phone or they make a copy of your phone and have your phone records. Now let’s say that they want to talk to you about a bank robbery, and you think, I didn’t rob a bank. I don’t know anything about a bank robbery. I don’t have anything to hide. I’ll go talk to the cops; it’ll be fine. Well, let’s say they ask to go through your phone and you let them. Now maybe there’s nothing incriminating on there about a bank robbery, but they might find your text to your drug dealer from last weekend when you needed a little bit of marijuana to get through the weekend. Or they might see where your best friend texted you wanting one of your Xanax pills because she’s going through a really rough divorce. Well guess what? Those things are both crimes that you’ve now admitted to and the police now have evidence that they can use against you for those other offenses. So, in short, it’s always best to have an attorney. It is better safe than sorry a hundred percent. You can never get an attorney to soon, but you can get one too late. If you or a loved one are in this situation, if you have any questions, give us a call because we can help you.