Should You Talk to the Police Without a Lawyer Present?

Law enforcement officials conduct interrogations to gather information about alleged crimes. They might use various techniques to get you, the suspect, to talk. The interrogation might seem conversational and feel like the officer is on your side. But, the questioning is often designed to get a confession out of you or at least get information that could be used against you in court. Even statements that seem innocent can be misconstrued to prove guilt or show inconsistencies in your story.

Because of this, talking to the police without a lawyer is never a good idea. Providing any statements, even if you believe they can clear your name, can do more harm than help. When you have a criminal defense attorney present during an interrogation, you can ensure that your rights are protected and that you will have someone who can provide peace of mind in a stressful situation.

If you are being investigated or have been charged with a crime in Salt Lake City, schedule a consultation with Lokken & Putnam, P.C. by contacting us at (801) 829-9783.

What Is the Purpose of a Police Interrogation?

During a criminal investigation, law enforcement officials may question a suspect to determine whether the individual was involved in the alleged conduct. Essentially, they are trying to get evidence from the suspect to pass on to the prosecutor to build a case against them. In short, the goal of the interrogation is to solve the crime.

Law enforcement officials will use various interrogation techniques to get the suspect to talk. This may include justifying the person’s actions so the individual feels like they are understood and that what they did wasn’t so bad. It may also involve blaming the victim, which can cause the suspect to admit wrongdoing because they believe that the police understand that they weren’t at fault.

Still, these interrogation methods are used to get the suspect to say something that can link them to the crime and provide fodder for proving guilt.

What Does It Mean for Anything to Be Used Against You?

If you’re familiar with the Miranda warning, you might know that one of the statements provides that “anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” But what does that mean? It means exactly what it says: anything can be used against you, regardless of whether it’s a truth attesting to your innocence or a small mistake said as you got caught up in your answer.

For instance, suppose you are being questioned for your suspected involvement in a robbery that happened in Salt Lake City. You tell the police you couldn’t have been the one who committed it because you weren’t in Salt Lake City when it happened. However, the police might have evidence putting you in the city on the day of the robbery. Thus, your statement of not being in the area could be seen as a lie and as if you are hiding something.

No matter what you say during an interrogation, your statements can be misconstrued and used against you. Any comments you make will not help you talk your way out of an arrest or charge. They can be manipulated to demonstrate your guilt.

Instead of answering the officer’s questions, it would be a better idea to exercise your rights to remain silent and be represented by counsel. Once you assert these rights, you do not have to say anything to the police, and the officers should stop interrogating you until your lawyer is present.

What an Attorney Can Do for You During an Interrogation

First and foremost, an attorney can protect your rights. They can ensure that law enforcement officials are treating you fairly and not pressuring you into giving statements after you said that you were going to remain silent. They can make sure that you are not unduly waiving any of your rights.

A lawyer can also follow the officers’ line of questioning to ascertain what they are trying to get at. Your attorney can ensure that you do not say anything that can be taken as an admission of guilt or otherwise be used against you in court.

In addition to preventing you from saying anything that may be used against you, an attorney can help keep you calm during the interrogation. Being questioned by police can be stressful and frightening, making it difficult to process what’s going on and take appropriate action to protect yourself. A lawyer can explain what’s happening and discuss your options, removing some of the unknowns from the situation and allowing you to see a path forward.

Speak with an Attorney Today

You should not talk to the police without a lawyer present. Going through questioning on your own could cause you to inadvertently say something that hurts your case. An attorney can protect your rights and provide the advice and guidance you need to feel confident during an interrogation.

To discuss your case with a member of our Salt Lake City team, contact Lokken & Putnam, P.C. by calling (801) 829-9783.