Imagine receiving a telephone call from a detective informing you that he/she wants to “talk” to you about an ongoing case Worse still, imagine opening your front door to that same detective. How would you handle the situation? What should you do if the police want to question you? Are you required to talk to them? Is it in your best interest to cooperate? What happens if you refuse to talk to them and doesn’t it make you look complicit if you refuse to cooperate? Before you assume that since you are a law abiding citizen you would never be in one of these scenarios, remember that it is never a good idea to assume anything. The reality is that regardless of how law abiding you may be, you could find yourself in a position (for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with your guilt) where the police wish to question you about a crime. You need to know what your rights and obligations are in the event you do find yourself faced with a request to “talk” to the police.
Just to be sure you are convinced that it could happen to you, consider the following possibilities:
· You recently had an old friend stay with you for a few days. It turns out the police are looking for her.
· Your teenage son has been selling marijuana at school – unbeknownst to you of course.
· Your boss has been laundering money and you handle the accounts receivable
Any one of those scenarios (and many more) could result in the police wanting to question to you. First, and foremost, you need to know that you are not required to talk to the police. You have the right to refuse to answer questions. In fact, you are not even required to answer the telephone or the door! If you do answer the door/telephone you are absolutely within your rights to politely explain to the officer that you wish to consult with your attorney before you agree to answer any questions.
The reason you do actually want to consult with an attorney first is that there is a very good chance the police consider you a suspect, or at least believe you have knowledge of the crime. All too often an innocent individual ends of saying something that is misconstrued or taken out of context and then used to make the individual the number one suspect.
Finally, do not hesitate to refuse to talk on the basis that it may make you look guilty. The odds are good that the police are already suspicious of you and it is much better to have them suspicious of you but unable to do anything about it than to open up to them and inadvertently say something they can use against you.
If you have been contacted by the police because they want to question you about an ongoing case do not talk to them without first consulting with an experienced Nebraska criminal defense attorney. Contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
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