“I just want to get your side of the story.” It’s one of the most commonly used tactics by police detectives. What should you do? Should you go down there and tell them what you know because, as the saying goes, “the truth will set you free?” Or should you ignore their calls and hope the entire thing will just go away. The answer is neither – you should immediately seek out the advice of an experienced Dallas criminal lawyer who, after getting a firm understanding of your case, can walk you through your options and the pros and cons of each.
Never Assume They’re On Your Side
It often starts with a phone call or a knock at the door. A police detective wants to get your side of the story. Every detective has a different style, but it’s not uncommon for them to come across as friendly and neutral, maybe even secretly on your side. They may be trying to “clear this up” or “understand what happened.” This is often a ruse; remember – the police are not neutral or on your side in a criminal investigation in which you are the suspect. Their job is to investigate, make an arrest, and turn you over to the District Attorney for prosecution. I say it’s often a ruse because what makes this decision truly difficult is that there are detectives out there who are really fair to the accused and really are just trying to “clear it up” or “get the other side of the story.” I’ve run into them over and over throughout my career – openminded detectives trying to do the right thing. Unfortunately, for every one of these neutral detectives I’ve also run into at least one (if not two or three or more) who have already made up their minds about my client’s guilt and are only trying to tie up their investigation with a nice confession. If you’re facing a criminal investigation in/around Dallas, an experienced Dallas criminal lawyer will be able to help you navigate this minefield. They may have worked with the detective before, or they may know the reputation of their department, or they may be able to get a better read on the detective by talking to them. The key is, a knowledgeable Dallas criminal lawyer will analyze your situation carefully and dispassionately – because their liberty is not on the line, they can think more clearly and more strategically than you can.
Never Go In Alone
Never, ever speak with a police detective without a Dallas criminal lawyer at your side. If they call or come to your door, politely tell them that you’ll need to contact a lawyer and that you’ll have that lawyer call them. Get their name and contact information. Many people I’ve spoken to over my career incorrectly assume that by “lawyering up” they’ll look guilty, like they have something to hide. I guess they get this from crime TV shows, but nothing could be further from the truth. The police expect you to consult a lawyer. I have been hired by or gotten client referrals from police officers and detectives many times. They always say to me privately that they know how much a suspect in an investigation has on the line and they never hold it against them that they want to protect their rights. The key is to make a good first impression. Don’t be rude to them, after all they’re just doing a job like you and me. Don’t try to be overly friendly or make jokes – just be polite and to the point. Something like, “I will need to speak with a lawyer about this first. I will have him call you. May I get your name and best contact number to give my lawyer?”
Never Ignore It
Ignoring the detective doesn’t make it go away. All it does is waste valuable time. When a Dallas criminal lawyer gets involved in an investigation early, they can sometimes clear it up without a case ever being referred to the District Attorney for prosecution. I’ve done this many times in my career. Other times, a case filing is inevitable, but the investigation can be shaped in a way that can benefit you. An experienced Dallas criminal lawyer can decide whether a statement from you can help or would hurt your case. They can point out beneficial witnesses or evidence to the detective. This early start combined with having a hand in shaping the investigation can help your Dallas criminal lawyer to argue that the District Attorney not accept the case for prosecution or the grand jury dismiss the case outright.
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When the police are calling/knocking, your freedom and your future hang in the balance. Don’t delay, call a Dallas criminal lawyer immediately.