What to do if You are Being Investigated
New Jersey and New York City Criminal Defense Attorney
What should you do if you are under investigation for a Federal or State crime? Call a lawyer immediately. When law enforcement officers knock on your door with a search warrant or subpoena, you should simply say "I want a lawyer", and then stop speaking. Under no circumstances should any "conversation" proceed further than this. Remember that a criminal defense attorney retained early in the case can manage a bad situation and prevent it from getting worse.
Do Not Speak to the Police or Sign Anything. Many people believe mistakenly that they can prove their innocence by simply talking to law enforcement authorities by themselves without any assistance from a lawyer. Unfortunately, saying anything or giving the police permission to freely search your home or car can come back to haunt you later. In any criminal investigation, law enforcement use many tricks and tactics to set you up for a conviction and, possibly, jail time. They have been trained extensively to elicit written and oral statements that can seriously damage a defendant's ability to defend a criminal case. They will try to convince you that it is in your best interest to "save yourself" by talking to them. But the opposite is almost always true. The person under investigation will just dig themselves in deeper, and will not realize it until it is too late.
Many people also think that they will get credit for cooperating with law enforcement by providing them with information about the subject matter of the investigation. That may be true - once you retain an attorney who takes the necessary steps to see to it that you get any credit you may be entitled to. Until and unless that happens, you will almost certainly receive nothing in return for any valuable information you may give law enforcement. Anything the police tell you to the contrary simply is untrue.
You do not know what the police know, and you do not have their training or experience. However, you have the right to say nothing until you are represented by counsel, and you have the right to request an attorney before saying anything. That is always in your best interest.
This is even more important in cases involving juveniles accused of crimes. Juveniles are typically supposed to be accompanied by parents or legal guardians in any interview with law enforcement. However, the juvenile defendant is not only immature, but is almost always scared and confused, and the adult has no training or experience in dealing with law enforcement. Police officers know how to exploit all of this to their advantage. Therefore, the parent or legal guardian accompanying the juvenile should simply and firmly insist immediately on attorney representation for the juvenile, and the interview should stop until the attorney arrives.
Know your Constitutional rights. All questioning must cease once legal representation is requested. Do not be afraid to stand your ground, and do not back down just because some police officer is trying to sell you a bill of goods.
Criminal defense attorney James S. Friedman provides legal representation to individuals seeking counsel for:
- Adult and Juvenile Criminal Defense;
- Appeals and Criminal Defense;
- Other Post-Conviction Issues; or
- Criminal Defendants with Special Needs
If you are being investigated by any law enforcement agency for any Federal or State offense, contact the New Jersey and New York City criminal defense firm of James S. Friedman, LLC, online or call 800-361-6554 (toll free) to learn how to protect yourself.