When the police approach you and start asking questions, it’s easy to get nervous and flustered. And you probably know that the stakes are high when interacting with investigators, especially if you think that they’re looking into you as a suspect.
But all too often individuals try to talk their way out of suspicion. Although this may be possible in some circumstances, in the majority of these situations accused individuals just end up talking themselves into trouble.
So, the question then becomes whether you should cooperate with the police during a criminal investigation.
When you should cooperate with the police
There are times when you should listen to the police and follow their instructions. For example, after being involved in a car accident, it’s probably best to answer some basic questions about your identity and your perception of what happened.
The same holds true during a traffic stop. If an officer requests that you exit your vehicle or put your hands behind your head, it’s wise to follow those instructions, even if you feel like you’ve done nothing wrong. Resisting law enforcement in these instances may lead to an unwanted physical altercation and additional criminal charges.
When you might want to think twice about cooperating
There are many instances where it’s not in your best interests to cooperate with law enforcement, though. For example, if the police start asking you questions about where you were on a given day or at a given time, or if law enforcement starts inquiring about your participation in certain activities that may have criminal implications, then you’re probably better off exercising your right to remain silent and talking to your attorney.
Even if the conversation with the police seems innocent enough, you should think twice before answering any questions. Here’s why:
- The police will lie to you: The police aren’t under an obligation to tell you the truth. Therefore, they might make up information to try to get you to talk. So, be careful when interacting with the police and avoid the urge to try to explain yourself. That’s where most people get into trouble.
- The police can’t promise you anything: Law enforcement officers might indicate that they’ll cut you a deal if you cooperate with them, but that’s not really something that they can do. Only the prosecutor can make promises like that. So, don’t fall for this slick tactic.
- Cooperation may signify guilt: If you agree to cooperate with the police, then you may end up making incriminating statements. Regardless of how compliant you are with law enforcement, you can’t take those admissions back, meaning that you may have the threat of criminal charges hanging over your head for a long time to come. You don’t want that.
- You can’t help yourself: Even if you’re innocent or only guilty of a minor offense, talking to the police probably isn’t going to do you much good. Even if you have the best explanation for the facts at hand, the police can and will twist your words to use them against you.
Consider reaching out to an attorney for help
These are delicate matters, and one misstep can land you in hot legal water. That’s why before you take any action on your interactions with the police, you’re probably better off talking with an attorney with experience in criminal defense. By reaching out to one of these professionals, you can get a better sense of how to approach the matter at hand in a way that protects your rights, your interests, and your future.