Should I Talk to the Police?


Not without a lawyer, or at least not until you have consulted with one.

You have an absolute right to remain silent and to have a lawyer present during any questioning.

Many people sitting in prison today would be free if they had exercised their right to keep their mouths shut.

Do not talk to the police, even if they ask you to. Make no statement and sign nothing.  If the police think that you will talk, they may try to interview you. They will tell you, and you may believe, that this is your chance to tell your story. It isn’t.

What it is, however, your chance to get yourself in more trouble. The police are not going to clear you of suspicion. Their role is to gather evidence to convict you of a crime.

  • If they ask you to call and talk to them on the phone, don’t. 
  • If they ask you to come down to the station to “clear some things up,” don’t. 
  • If they say they want to give you a chance to tell your side of the story, don’t. 

Consult a lawyer first.

When the police ask you questions, the first—and only—words out of your mouth should be: “I do not wish to speak with you. I won’t answer any questions without my lawyer.”

The police regularly use deceptive tactics and lie to people under investigation. In many cases such tactics are perfectly legal. They say that if you tell them your side of the story, they will not arrest you. That is usually a lie, or sometimes it means they won’t arrest you at that moment, but will later. It is a regular police tactic used in the hope that those accused will make a statement which can later be used against them in court.

The police will try to trick you into talking to them without a lawyer by saying things like:

  • “If you didn’t do it, you don’t need a lawyer.”
  • “Only guilty people ask for a lawyer.”
  • “This is your only chance to tell your side of the story.”
  • “If you get a lawyer now, we will never hear your side of the story.”

These are lies the police frequently tell in hopes of getting you to give up your right to consult with a lawyer and to have that lawyer present with you during questioning. If the police can trick you into talking without a lawyer, they will take advantage of your limited understanding of the law.

Whatever you are going to say at that moment you can say later, if your lawyer believes it will help.  Most likely, whatever you are going to say at that moment is not going to help.  Because the police usually aren’t really looking for the other side of the story.  They get one side of the story, and they consider their work finished.

Whether you should speak with the police or prosecutor at some point is an extremely important and complex decision, one that can only be made with the advice of competent legal counsel.