The answer is probably. One of the biggest mistakes people make when coming into contact with the police during a criminal investigation is talking to them without an attorney present. Generally, you should never agree to an interview with the police without first consulting an attorney. Even if you have not officially been charged with a crime, you need a lawyer if it is clear that the police consider you a suspect in the crime being investigated.
Often, when a serious crime is under investigation, law enforcement officers will interview a number of people in an attempt to gain useful information about the crime. Almost everyone is a potential suspect in their eyes. All too often people go from being an unlikely suspect to the number one suspect just because they unintentionally implicated themselves during a police interview. Your initial reaction may be that if you are innocent, why would you need an attorney? Idealistically, it makes sense to think you would not need an attorney if you have nothing to hide. The problem comes when the report detailing your statement bears little resemblance to what was actually said during the meeting. Police are looking for admissions and have no interest in excluding you as a suspect. Their reports will emphasize details such as you were present, don’t have an alibi, were unsure about certain details during the interview and generally portray you as unreliable or inconsistent.
If the police want to talk to you, or conduct a search of property owned by you, it is because they believe you have some connection to the crime. A single conversation could move you from “some connection” in the eyes of the police to “prime suspect.” Something you say could be misinterpreted by the police and could make you look guilty. Your appearance can also lead the police to believe you know more than you are admitting about the crime. The more nervous you appear the more they may be convinced you are hiding something. Of course, the truth may be that talking to the police makes you nervous.
The bottom line is that anytime the police want to “talk” to you or “take a look around” your property you need to contact an attorney. After discussing the matter with full disclosure and complete privacy, you may choose to interview with an attorney present, decline to make a statement at all or make a statement through your attorney. Exercising your right to seek the advice of an attorney does not make you look guilty – it evens the playing field. The police may already suspect you are guilty, meaning you have little to lose in the credibility department by remaining silent until your consult your lawyer. However, you have much to gain by consulting with an attorney during the investigative stage of a criminal prosecution.
If you have been charged with a criminal offense in Nebraska contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney.