Being under criminal investigation can be the most stressful time in your life. After all, if you’re charged with a criminal offense and subsequently convicted, you could end up facing severe penalties that negatively impact nearly every aspect of your life. In an attempt to try to put the matter behind themselves as quickly as possible and protect themselves as fully as possible, many accused individuals voluntarily talk to the police as a way to try to dispel suspicions.
However, talking to the police might be the biggest mistake that you can make in your criminal case, potentially serving as a steppingstone to your conviction. With that in mind, you need to be cognizant of the tactics the police use to try to get you to talk; that way, you’re better positioned to protect yourself.
Top reasons why you shouldn’t talk to the police
There are a lot of reasons why you shouldn’t talk to the police. Let’s look at some of the most important:
- They can take your words out of context: People who are under investigation are usually nervous. This can cause them to say things imperfectly when they speak with the police. As a result, the investigators might mischaracterize what’s being said, which can actually leave you looking more suspicious than you did when you walked into the police station.
- The police can’t promise you anything: Law enforcement officers might try to coax you into talking to them by promising that they’ll go easy on you, but they don’t really have the ability to make that decision. The prosecutor is going to decide how to charge you and whether to cut you a deal. So, don’t give in to what investigators tell you.
- You’ll likely be asked to retell your story: If you voluntarily talk to the police, there’s probably going to come a time when you’ll have to recount what you told them. This can be difficult to do under any circumstances, let alone one that’s highly stressful. As a result, you might create inconsistencies in your statements that the police can then use against you.
- You don’t have to talk to the police: Even though you might feel compelled to talk to the police, you don’t have to. You have the right to remain silent, and you’re not going to be forced to incriminate yourself. So, don’t let the pressure placed on you by the police leave you feeling like talking is necessary.
- The police can lie to you: There’s no requirement that the police tell you the truth when they interrogate you. Therefore, they might claim that they have evidence implicating you in the crime as a way to try to get you to start talking and trying to explain yourself. This can lead to you making statements that are unintentionally incriminating.
- You’re innocent until proven guilty: A lot of people who talk to the police do so because they’re afraid that their silence will make them look guilty. But remember, under the law, you’re innocent until proven guilty. Therefore, your silence isn’t going to get the prosecution very far in court. Your words, on the other hand, might give them the ammunition that they need to obtain a conviction.
Know how to protect your interests during a criminal investigation
A single misstep at any point in a criminal investigation can lead to negative outcomes, including incarceration. With so much at stake, you need to know how to protect yourself at every step of the way. Therefore, you might find it beneficial to educate yourself on the process and figure out how to best deal with overzealous police officers and prosecutors.