I came across a great video lecture from a law professor posted on the Georgia Criminal Law Blog that everyone should watch – attorneys and laypersons alike.
Don’t talk to the police, at any time, under any circumstances. Period.
The latter half of the video features a cop telling “the other side of the story,” and was the subject of a previous post by Scott Greenfield, titled “One Lecture By a Cop with Many, Many Lessons,” who commented that this displayed some revealing insight into the practice and procedure of police “interviewers.”
– John H. Bryan, West Virginia Attorney
It is surprising how many people don’t understand this simple rule…don’t talk to the police. Period. Too many people become frightened or volunteer information that is not needed nor required nor necessary in any way.
I too have given the standard advice to many clients being investigated by the police – don’t talk under any circumstances. What’s tougher is situations when the person is not a suspect. For example, what about when you get a call for advice from a person who is the victim of a crime? I’m hesitant to tell them not to call the police. I know if I was victimized I would call the police. Yet there have been occasions when a client of mine has gone to the police to report a crime and ended up getting charged themselves – perhaps with false report or some unrelated incident. How should we handle these more nuanced situations?
That’s a good point. I would draw the line with he-said-she-said situations. If the “victim” is unquestionably the victim, then that is one thing. But, if it is a battery-type situation, or if your client could possibly be construed to be a “co-defendant,” then I would err on the side of caution. But even then, you can’t always predict where trouble may lie. I know of a woman who reported an alleged rape after which she herself ended up getting charged with filing a false police report after she gave conflicting statements.