What do I do when police try to question me?
You may think you only need a lawyer if you have been accused of a crime. However, if the police have called or questioned you in relation to any criminal activity, you may want to contact a criminal defense attorney in Massachusetts. If you think the police are suspicious of you, be sure to take the appropriate safeguards to protect yourself.
Determining if you are Under Suspicion
When a law enforcement officer suspects you of a crime, they may contact you on the phone or visit your residence and ask you questions. When a police officer calls you, it is only natural to want to clear your name. You may be inclined to be very upfront and answer all the questions that they ask. Most legal professionals would advise you to have a lawyer present whenever you talk to the police. A professional lawyer will know what questions a police officer is legally allowed to ask and can advocate for you if you are a person of interest or a suspect in a crime.
Often times the police will have evidence of some kind that prompted them to question you. Remember that, “anything you say may be held against you.” You should always be very polite to the police, but you do not have to answer their questions.
There are several different circumstances under which an officer may question you.
If You are Under Arrest
The police may arrest you if they have probable cause. Probable cause exists when the police have evidence that would make a reasonable individual think a suspect has committed a crime or has the intention of committing a crime. It is also necessary to establish probable cause to obtain a search warrant. In The Bay State, a police officer must present evidence to a judicial officer to establish cause and they must do so under oath.
The police may detain you and question you if they have, reasonable suspicion that you were involved in a crime. In order for suspicion to be deemed reasonable, it must be, based on “specific and articulable facts”, taken together with rational inferences from those facts”, The officer may not just have a hunch. An attorney can do a professional job of gaging when reasonable suspicion is present. If you have been detained without an attorney, be sure to tell the lawyer you hire exactly what questions you were asked and how you answered those questions.
The police may approach you in a friendly manner and ask if they can ask you a few questions. Although it may be your instinct to talk to them, you may want to think twice before answering any questions.
When questioned by police, people have been known to give incorrect statements because they are under pressure. You may inadvertently give a wrong time or a wrong date and that can make you look dishonest. You may say something to make yourself look guilty or an officer might misunderstand you.
Anyone accused of a crime deserves the best legal representation. The Law Office of Matthew W. Peterson can help you fight criminal charges and let you get on with your life.