I Got a Call from a Police Officer Wanting to Talk about a Situation, What Do I Do?: Florida Criminal Defense Attorney Answers
If the police are calling you and want to talk to you about a situation, you want to call a criminal defense lawyer right away. Even if police say they only want a witness statement, you should still reach out to an attorney first. You can go from a "witness" to a criminal suspect very easily if you're not careful.
We get this question very often, and no matter how friendly the officer may sound on the phone we cannot stress enough that you YOU DO NOT WANT TO SPEAK WITH POLICE. Don’t call the cops or detectives back until you have an attorney. Frankly, they are not your friend.
This might sound intense, but whether or not you were involved in the investigation they’re talking about in a criminal capacity or otherwise - you need an attorney to help you right away. You can simply tell the officer that you are asserting your right to remain silent and your right to an attorney.
If the officer keeps asking questions, or continues to try to pull information from you - you can just repeat that you’re using your right to remain silent and that all questions will need to be answered by your attorney.
No matter what, whatever you say to the Florida police or law enforcement officer will be used against you. And cops will sometimes use shady tactics to get information out of you.
EXAMPLES of why Florida Police might call you:
For example, let’s say the cops call you regarding a domestic violence charge and you say:
“Yeah, I was there but he/she is making it all up to get custody of the kids.”
Not a big deal, right? WRONG. Even a small statement like this does FAR more damage than you would think.
Your first mistake: You just admitted to police that you were there where an alleged domestic violence crime took place.
In every single criminal case, the prosecution is required to prove that you were at the scene of the crime -- and you just did their job for them before they even officially charged you with any crime.
Your second mistake: You just limited your defense.
Stand Your Ground and self-defense laws in Florida are very defendant-friendly, but based on what you said (or even what you didn’t say) to the cop they may no longer be applicable to your case.
It’s impossible to know if you’re making these critical mistakes if you don’t know the ins and outs of the law. Only an attorney will be able to help you fully protect your rights if the police want to question you.
The Reason you Need a Criminal Attorney Immediately if Police Call You: Protect Your Rights
Your absolute best bet in any situation police are calling you for information, or as part of an investigation, is to call a criminal attorney.
A good South Florida criminal defense attorney will make sure the police don’t trick you into giving up important information that will hurt you. Also – anything your lawyer says to the cops CAN’T be used against you.
We can advocate on your behalf. In some cases we’ve been able to convince the officer to close out a case before our client is even arrested because we were able to prove to the police agency that the charge, allegation, evidence (etc) was unfounded. Getting criminal charges dropped before you're ever arrested is an amazing benefit to you, your future, and your criminal record.
If you don’t know all your rights or the ins and the outs of criminal law, talking to police is dangerous as you might give away vital information or lose defenses to your cases without even knowing it. A criminal lawyer knows what the police do and don’t need to know, and a good criminal defense attorney is fighting to PROTECT you. If Florida police are questioning you, even as a witness, they're not trying to protect you.
Case Example: How Told our Client he was a Witness, but she was Actually Investigating him as a Criminal Suspect
Police often use misleading or manipulative tactics in order to trick people into giving up their right to remain silent. A recent example of this was when Broward County Sheriff's Dectective Sherry Slagle-Grant told our client she wanted to speak to him as a witness to a vehicular homicide case, when she really was targetting our client as a criminal suspect for the vehicular homicide case.
You can watch the video for more details, but essentially a detective tried to "trick" our client into speaking with her. Detective Slagle-Grant told our client that she wanted a witness statement, but in reality she was targeting him as a suspect in the criminal investiation. Thankfully, our client called us immediately so he never had to talk to Detective Sherry Slagle-Grant alone and we're walking with him through this unfortunate event.
If he hadn't hired us, Detective Slagle-Grant could have made this situation even more traumatic than it already is. Check out this blog for more details on her shady tactics.
What to do if you've been called by police in Florida:
While police obviously serve to protect, when you’re being investigated by police their main job is to protect the alleged victim and to find reason enough to charge you with a crime or to make an arrest.
If you’ve been contacted by the police for information, about an investigation, or due to a suspected crime in Sunrise, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton - or anywhere else in South Florida - call our office today for a FREE strategy session.
If the police are already calling you, you don’t have that much time to spare.
Call us: 754-206-6200
Learn more about our FREE Strategy Sessions: We listen to the whole story, hear everything you have to say, and then tell you how - based on your unique case - we’d fight to defend your rights and protect your future.
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