In this Law Talk episode, let's talk about “your side of the story.”
Here's a scenario. An officer arrives at your house or asks you to come down to the police station. He's being sympathetic and understanding, and just wants you to help clear some things up and tell your side of the story. Should you go ahead and talk to the officer?
Simply put, you should always be wary of willingly telling an officer “your side of the story.” Regardless if an officer is acting friendly to you or not, from a legal standpoint, it is in your best interest to keep quiet in these scenarios or invoke your right to have an attorney present.
You often see crime shows where people always ask for a lawyer - and for good reason! In fact, even the smallest detail you provide, what may seem like the most insignificant thing at the time, like even saying you know a suspect in question, can be enough for you to be charged with a crime.
It is law enforcement’s job to gather evidence. The cops aren’t “your friend.” When they are conducting an investigation, they aren’t there to help you. They are doing what they need to do to get what they want to hear from you.
And to attain such evidence, law enforcement will use their interrogation training to gather evidence needed to establish a case.
In other words, you will need to hold your ground no matter what.
Don't be careless. Don’t let yourself be dragged into something due to a slip of the tongue. Any bit of information can turn into potential evidence against you down the road. Protect yourself by not directly or indirectly incriminating yourself - especially if a given case has nothing to do with you. Politely decline to answer any questions until you have an attorney present. Even if the officer continues to pressure you into making a statement, maintain your composure and politely decline.
Don't let your side of the story get you booked: just say no and seek legal counsel.