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Should I Talk With The Police?

We often have people call our office and tell us that the Police believe they may have been involved in some sort of criminal activity but want them to come in just to "clear things up." Often the law enforcement officer will say that "I don't think there is anything to these accusations, but if you come in and talk to us, we can clear your name."

Beware!

One of the most common mistakes that members of the public make in a situation like this is that they go to the Police Station or Sheriff's Office and sit down with a detective to tell their side of the story. In the end, they provide the officer with enough information to charge them with a crime, sometimes a more serious offense than the officer originally planned.

Non-Custodial Interrogation

In the law, these "talks" are called Non-Custodial Interrogations. Let me emphasize the second word, Interrogation. They are not seeking to clear your name, they are seeking to close their case with an arrest. In an interrogation, police are interested in getting you to tell them everything you know about the case so that the officer can charge you with some offense.

Can Police Lie During a Non-Custodial Interrogation?

Law enforcement officers are not required to tell the truth during an interrogation and they can and will lie to you to get what they want. Two lies that are often told are

  1. "If you tell us what you know, we won't prosecute you"; and
  2. "You don't need a lawyer, we are just going to talk."

The only individuals who can offer immunity from prosecution in a criminal case are The District Attorney, an Assistant District Attorney, The United States Attorney, or an Assistant United States Attorney. The District Attorney represents the State of North Carolina and The US Attorney represents the Federal Government in Court. Neither local law enforcement nor the Federal Bureau of Investigation can offer immunity, or in other words, promise not to prosecute you in exchange for your assistance. If they tell you that they can, they are lying to you!

The second lie that is often told is that you don't need an attorney. You do! Since you haven't been arrested or otherwise placed in custody, the officer does not have to advise you of your right to an attorney. This does not mean you don't have the right to seek legal counsel and have a lawyer with you. Even if they have not advised you of your Miranda Rights, anything you tell the police while you are not in custody will be used against you.

Contact Cobb Law PLLC

If you have been asked to speak with law enforcement about something you have done, you should call an Iredell County Criminal Defense Attorney to assist you with your case. Attorney Lee Cobb of Cobb Law PLLC would be happy to represent you and fight for your rights.

Categories: Criminal Defense
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