Should You Ever Give A Statement To Law Enforcement?
Should a person accused of a crime go down to the sheriff station and give a statement to law enforcement?
The guiding principle as to whether or not one accused of a crime should ‘ever’ talk to the police is embodied in the United States and the Florida Constitutions.
The answer is simply: NO!
Do Yourself a Favor and Hire an Attorney Before You Speak
As a criminal defense lawyer, I am contacted regularly by people who are under investigation or who are being questioned by law enforcement.
The telephone will ring or the office conference will occur, and the person will undoubtedly ask whether or not they should speak to the ‘cops’? The target of the investigation (the suspect) will then go into panic mode and try to give every reason why they should or should not tell the police their side of the story. After calming the person down, which can take some time, the target of the investigation will still have many reservations about whether or not they should “get a lawyer” or just go ‘speak’ to the police.
The answer to this dilemma is to get a criminal defense lawyer, one who will protect your rights.
Law Enforcement Is Not On Your Side
Law enforcement officials have a duty to investigate criminal acts and then arrest people who they believe are responsible for committing crimes.
Law enforcement officers will use every tool in their disposal to gather evidence of a crime. Law enforcement will gather evidence of crimes as quickly as possible and before making an arrest, they usually depend on:
- Statements made by witnesses and the accused
- Tangible evidence taken in custody like cellphones, computers and weapons
- Crime scene forensic gatherings, like finger prints, DNA and other tangible objects
Witness statements can be froth with biases and prejudices, about the accused.
Witnesses may be biased for many reasons. The witness may be biased simply because they do not like the accused because of prior acts between them. The witness’s bias and prejudice can be examined during a court deposition but that is later in the process. Here for this purpose, the witness’s statement will be used in confronting the accused with it, if the accused decides to give a statement to police.
The accused will therefore be confronted and impeached with an out of court and biased witness statement at the urging of law enforcement. This creates a problem for the accused if they decide to give a statement to law enforcement, because the confirmation of the witness’s statement against the accused, will undoubtedly make the statement of accused look like a lie or untruthful.
Moreover, witness statements can be full of inaccuracies because of what they actually remember during the alleged commission of a crime. Research has shown that when a witness is under the stress of a criminal act (either to themselves or others), the accuracy of the witness’s memory tends to suffer due to the stress of the events. While a witness can give a statement to the investigation officer, the witness’s story as they know it, may not be totally accurate.
Therefore if the accused decides to speak with police, the accuracy of the statement given by the accused versus the witness’s statement will be detrimental against the accused at trial. Who will the jury believe, the witness who is just reporting what they allegedly perceived or the accused who is looking to save their own neck?
Law Enforcement Can Be Deceitful
Additionally, law enforcement will also use tricks, lies and deceit to gain information or a reaction from the accused during questioning.
Lies, deceit, and the “mutt and Jeff” tactics have long been used by law enforcement to gain confessions and statements by the accused. Guess wha? Lying to someone during an investigation is constitutional, and yes the statement of the accused will come in at trial.
Technology Helps Law Enforcement Build A Case
Another reason not to speak to law enforcement is because what is told to them will likely led to additionally evidence.
For instance, most people today send text messages on their cellphones. Law enforcement will undoubtedly ask the accused for their cellphone number or further to check through the accused cellphone. Texts messages, phone logs, pictures and other pieces of data can be easily collected from the cellphone and may led to direct evidence of a crime or further information gathering by the police.
Many people falsely believe that once they delete a text, picture, map log, phone log or other information from their smartphone that it magically disappears. This is not true!
The data used on a cellphone is stored and can be retrieved manually by a cellphone forensic specialist. Remember also nearly all smartphones have built in GPS. GPS can track that cellphone with pinpoint accuracy and it will also show law enforcement exactly where that cellphone was located and what time it was at a given location (but not necessarily who had the cellphone at those places and time). Unless of course, the accused gives a statement to law enforcement showing ‘they’ always had control of the cellphone.
Contact Andrew D Stine For Criminal Defense in Palm Beach County
The best advice for anyone being investigated for criminal activity is to hire an experienced criminal lawyer. Andrew D. Stine is an experienced criminal defense attorney in West Palm Beach and has been protecting the rights of those under investigation and accused of a crime since 2003. If you or loved one is in need of a criminal lawyer call 561-832-1170 and speak directly with Andrew D. Stine. Hire Stine or do the Time.