Sometimes it’s a phone call, other times a knock at your door. It's the police and they have questions. Just a few about what happened, or where you were, or they just need to "clear a few things up." What do you do?
What you DON'T do is talk to law enforcement. It is in your best interest to not talk to the police officer, unless you have spoken with an experienced criminal defense lawyer first.
What if I haven't done anything wrong?
Doesn't matter. Innocent people speaking to law enforcement before speaking with a criminal defense attorney is always a mistake. Why?
In the first place, you have no idea what information the police officer has or where is came from. Are you the subject of a criminal investigation or just a witness? The police will not tell you or could tell you a white lie in order to get information. Do they have circumstantial evidence? Where did the police get their information? From a reliable witness? From somebody with a grudge against you? Surveillance video? Anonymous source? The internet? Bottom line, you don't know. Under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, Americans have the right to remain silent. Or as law professor James Duane would say, "you have the right to remain innocent."
Won't I look guilty if I don't talk with them?
No, and who cares. You are under no obligation to cooperate with the police, just as they are under no obligation to tell you what their information is and what they are investigating. Always ask to speak with an attorney first, preferably an experienced Philadelphia criminal attorney at Scarpello and LaTour.
Don't they have to read me or tell me my rights first?
Simple answer, No. Miranda warnings, "you have the right to remain silent, etc" only apply if you are in custody or in a situation in which you might not feel free to leave. This is precisely why the police call you on the phone or show up at your door unannounced. However, the minute you tell them you want to speak with a lawyer, their questioning must stop.
Bottom line, don't talk to the police unless and until you have spoken with an experienced criminal defense attorney. At Scarpello and LaTour we have over 40 years experience in dealing with law enforcement and handling all types of criminal cases. We offer aggressive and experienced criminal defense to those arrested and facing criminal charges. Our attorneys are experts at navigating the legal system and criminal law.
Josh Scarpello & Pierre LaTour are former Philadelphia District Attorneys who use the experience gained as prosecutors to defend people charged in crimes. If you find yourself at a police station or have been charged with a serious crime, call our law firm. Our attorneys will listen to your side of the story and evaluate your criminal case.
Whether you are in Philadelphia, Media, Norristown, West Chester, Doylestown, Camden or anywhere else in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, call Scarpello and LaTour if you have been contacted by the police. Know your rights. Get a free consultation with the best Philadelphia defense lawyers out there. Call today.