So, the Police Want to Interview You

If you are a possible suspect in a criminal investigation, you may be contacted by the police. They may request an interview and there several different techniques they might use to persuade you to speak with them. Don’t do it. See below for more details.

Good Cop

They may tell you that they just want “your side of the story” so that they can “put the case to bed”. They might make it sound like they basically have their mind made up that you didn’t do anything wrong and just need you to confirm a few details so that they can check some boxes before they officially close the case.

Is it because they’re trying to help you? Absolutely not!

Police are in the business of collecting evidence. They want you to let your guard down and give them evidence. They want you to show your cards. Did they bother showing you their cards first? Did they show you witness statements? Did they give you a guided tour of their evidence locker?

Or do they just want a free peek at your cards?

Bad Cop

But they may take the opposite approach. They might tell you that you could be in a lot of trouble. They might say that right now they only have one side of the story and if that’s all they have to go on, you’re going to be arrested and charged with serious crimes. But if you come in and talk with them, maybe they will go another way.

Is it because they’re trying to help you? Absolutely not!

It’s just a different method and technique of collecting evidence.

The police might be fair with you, but they might not. It’s not uncommon for police to push the prosecution of a case because they didn’t believe your denial was “a strong denial”. Do you know right now for a certainty that your denial will be the kind of denial that these particular police officers will definitely 100% accept? Absolutely not!

So, knowing they want to talk to you for the purpose of collecting evidence, consider that if they’re going to prosecute you, do you want the prosecutor to have MORE evidence or LESS evidence?

Less. The answer is “less”.

So, What Should I Do?

Look, I love the police. I used to be a prosecutor and I know how hard the job is and the good they do for the community. I also know how quick a cop will lawyer up if they find themselves the suspect in a crime. So, don’t let them shame you – they could and would do the exact same thing!

If you lose this hand of poker, you get taken away in chains and put in a cage. That’s the brutal reality of criminal cases. So, when the people holding the key to that cage ask you for a free peek at your cards, politely decline and tell them you want a lawyer.

If they ask you why you want a lawyer, ask them if they would be okay with waiving their Second Amendment right to have guns. They’re not. Tell them you’re not okay with waiving your Sixth Amendment right to have a lawyer.

But I’m Innocent

Doesn’t matter! Guilty people go free and innocent people go to prison. Life is not fair and people are not perfect – so don’t expect the criminal justice system to be. It’s not what you know, it’s what a judge or jury believes.

So, if someone asks you why an innocent person would want a lawyer, ask them if they’re familiar with the Innocence Project.

Ask them if they know of Cornelius Dupree who served 31 years in prison for a rape and robbery that DNA evidence proved he didn’t commit.

Ask them if they know of Larry Ruffin who died in prison 30 years after being sentenced for a murder and rape that DNA evidence proved he didn’t commit.

Ask them how many people have been exonerated by various Innocence Projects around the country. Ask them if they know what factors have led to so many wrongful convictions.

Innocent people, after having been investigated, interrogated and arrested by police officers, have been wrongfully convicted and have died in prison – and these police officers don’t know anything about it.

Ask them why not.

Actually – better just tell them that before you speak with them, you would like to talk to an attorney first.

Okay Eliot, But When Should I Speak to the Police?

Please see below for a detailed list about when you should speak to the police.

  • You’re married to a police officer and they are asking you what you would like for dinner. You are really hungry. Go ahead and tell them what sounds good. But even then, make sure you qualify your statement – don’t tell them this is what you want for dinner, say instead, this is something that might be good. That way, you still have plausible deniability.