Updated August 11, 2022
What to Do If You Are Questioned by the Police
In the U.S. criminal justice system, we are all innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If you have ever been interviewed or interrogated by the police, however, it may not have been apparent that this was foremost on the officer’s agenda.
Officers of the law can become overzealous in their efforts, and this is why understanding your rights from the outset is in your best interests. Even a criminal charge can negatively affect your reputation, but a conviction can have lasting repercussions that are difficult—if not impossible—to overcome.
The Police Interview
If the police call you in for an interview, it typically means that they are doing research into a crime that they either have reason to believe was committed or that they are investigating.
This process often involves interviews, interrogations, and even polygraph tests (aka lie detector tests). Understanding the basics in relation to these procedures will help ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process. The stakes are extremely high; proceed with caution.
The Detective’s Advantage
If you are being questioned about a crime, the detective who is interviewing you has a file in front of him or her that outlines exactly what is known about the crime in question. You, on the other hand, will likely have no idea about the contents of that file, and this puts you at a disadvantage.
Further, the detective questioning you is trained to lead interviewees like you in exactly the direction that he or she would like you to go, making it difficult to avoid self-incrimination.
Finally, the stress associated with being interrogated by the police can be overwhelming, which leaves you that much more vulnerable to the interrogation tactics employed.
If you are interviewed by the police, you have certain inalienable rights, which include the right to legal counsel and the right to remain silent. It is in your best interests to exercise these rights. Anything that you say to your interviewer can—and likely will—be used against you.
Requesting that you have an attorney with you during the interview is well within your legal rights, and it is not a sign of guilt—no matter what the interviewing officer would have you believe.
The polygraph deserves closer inspection. Understand that you are not required to take a polygraph test to prove your innocence. To learn more about polygraph tests, read “Are Lie Detector Tests Admissible as Evidence in Texas Criminal Courts?”
If You Are Facing a Police Interview, You Need an Experienced Killeen Criminal Defense Lawyer by Your Side
Criminal charges are serious, and a police interview without legal representation can hurt your case. Criminal Attorney Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, is committed to aggressively advocating for your rights and the best possible resolution of your case. We are here to help, so please contact us online or call us at (254) 781-4222.