In the last couple of weeks I’ve had two fantastic results that drove home the points I made in my last post. My last post discussed what to do when a detective wants to talk to you. I explained how you should never ignore it but should never assume that the detective is on your side (no matter what they say). The bottom line is that the best thing you can do is immediately contact an experienced Dallas criminal lawyer and follow their advice.
Case in Point # 1
A client hired me after a detective contacted him about an injury to a child (child abuse) allegation. We poured through the evidence he had and started mounting a defense. Most importantly, I politely declined the detective’s invitation for my client to come in and “give his side of the story” while pointing out some of the weaknesses in the allegations against him. In the end, without the ability to interview my client, the detective came to the conclusion that the little evidence they did have did not support pursuing a criminal case against my client. Had my client spoken to the detective (either didn’t hire me early or ignored my advice) he his words could’ve only hurt him. This illustrates an important point – in the early stages of a criminal investigation you don’t know what you don’t know. You don’t know what the police have and don’t have. Your agreement to speak to the detective could help clear it up, but it could also give them information they did not otherwise have that could be used against you. In this instance deciding to not give an interview and get ready to mount our defense should a case get filed was the best course of action.
Case in Point # 2
A client hired me after a detective contacted him about a sexual assault allegation. He denied it to the detective and made some statements. He shut it down when the detective asked whether he’d provide a DNA sample as he realized this was going nowhere good fast. Ideally he would’ve called me before making ANY statements, but better late than never. After discussing what happened with him and understanding the in’s and out’s of his case, I recommended a course of action designed to limit his criminal liability while building a potential defense. Again, we didn’t know what we didn’t know, but we didn’t want to give the police/prosecutor anything that they didn’t already know/have that they could use against him. In the end the grand jury dismissed the case.
Both of these clients had to make difficult decisions to not go in and tell their side of the story. People often think that they can clear this misunderstanding up if they just go in and set the record straight. That can be the case, but there are also instances where that’s not the right course of action. It takes an experienced Dallas criminal lawyer to ask probing questions to fully understand your case and devise a plan individually tailored to best protect you.