Television has offered people an unclear picture of what you should do if the police bring you in for questioning. They make it seem like you will “look guilty” if you don’t tell the police everything that they want to know.
Even if you haven’t been charged with a crime you should still be aware that you may be considered a suspect in a criminal case if the police are talking to you. You may not need an attorney if you have an air-tight, truthful, and verifiable alibi. If you don’t, you might want to go ahead and get a lawyer before answering any questions.
You have the right to remain silent.
You are not obligated to speak. The police may try to convince you that it’s in your best interests to do so, but you don’t have to.
If you talk, speak the truth.
Lying to the police can turn into its own criminal charge, even if you’re innocent of everything else! If you choose to divulge information make sure it’s true (to the best of your knowledge).
Answer only what’s asked.
If you choose to speak there is no need to volunteer more information than has been requested. Listen closely to the question, and offer only what has been requested.
Obtaining a lawyer is not an admission of guilt.
You are not pleading guilty to anything when you ask for a lawyer. You are only asking for someone to help you navigate a confusing, complex system that has many pitfalls.
There are few advantages to speaking to the police without a lawyer. If there are advantages to speaking to them at all an attorney can explain what you might stand to gain from doing so.
If you fear you’re about to be charged with a crime, call us! Our criminal attorneys have been serving the Minneapolis metro area for over 75 years, and we’re ready to help you reach the best possible outcome in any criminal legal matter you might face.