Never Speak to the Police
Our advice to clients is to never speak to the police. Some clients have trouble with this advice, but years of experience have taught us that speaking to the police can be extremely dangerous.
We have had more than one client who was charged solely based on statements they made to the police before we were hired. Similarly, we have had many cases where our clients were not charged because the government couldn’t prove the case without the client’s statement.
The Police are Looking for Evidence Against You
Like it or not, the police officer isn’t your friend when he’s investigating a crime where you’re the suspect. Most prosecutors will require that a police officer attempt to obtain a statement from you before they authorize charges. This isn’t because they want to give you an opportunity to clear your name, but rather because they want an opportunity to lock in your story and the ability to use it against you. Police officers are trained at questioning and interrogating people suspected of crimes.
The Police are not Required to be Honest
Sitting down with a police officer to answer questions isn’t fair fight — they are allowed to use trickery and lies to get you to make statements. In one case, the detective sat down with a suspect in a murder case and presented him with a DNA report from the Michigan State Police Crime Lab. The report said that his DNA was found at the scene of the crime. The detective was using this to coerce the suspect into confessing that he committed the murder. The one problem was that the DNA report was a FAKE. There was no DNA evidence. However, if the suspect had made any statements, they would have been used against him at trial.
The Police May Use Only the Parts of Your Statement that Harm You
If you submit to a police interview, you may find that the police twist your words or only use the portions of your statement that are harmful to your case. For example, if you’ve been accused of sexually assaulting a family member and you deny that you did it, but admit to having been alone with the accuser, you have just proven part of the case against you. Prior to your statement, they would have had to prove that you were present when the alleged assault occurred. After your statement, they only have to convince a jury that you did the act, but you’ve proven that you had the opportunity.
We Help You Through the Process
Every now and then, it is appropriate to make a statement to the police or prosecutor with the guidance of an Grand Rapids criminal defense attorney. If you have one of those rare cases, we can guide you through the process. However, you should not do it alone.
If you have been accused of a crime in West Michigan, Central Michigan, or Northern Michigan, contact a Grand Rapids criminal defense attorney at (616) 773-2945 before you submit to an interview.