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Should You Ever Talk To The Police?

The short answer to this question is a resounding NO.  If you are under investigation or under arrest and the police want to talk to you, the first thing you should do is assert your right to counsel.  Once you speak to counsel it is almost a certainty that the lawyer will tell you not to speak to the police.   You have a right to remain silent at all times.  I cannot tell you how many times I have seen my clients not listen to this advice and give full and/or partial statements to the police which have never done them any good.  You will have your opportunity to speak if necessary, at trial under oath and under prepared circumstances – knowing the full case and accusations against you.  The time to speak is most certainly not at the police station.  Rarely have I heard of situations where my clients have given their side of the story in the hopes that they would convince the police not to charge them with a crime.  In almost all cases the police are going to charge you anyway.  If you are already under investigation or you are called into the police station, chances are they’ve already made up their minds.  Furthermore, if there is any doubt on the side of the police, it’s very easy for them to simply charge you with a crime and let the courts work it out and figure it all out – they’ve covered their behinds so to speak in cases that are on the line or grey area cases.  Now I have seen the rare case where cooperating with the police in an investigation of which you are a suspect does result in no arrests, however, in all of those cases, it was the defence lawyer who was arranging and talking to the police and not the person under investigation.  For example, if there are cases of theft where the accused person mistakenly kept a work laptop after being terminated or where an accused did not return a rental car or a borrowed car, in these types of cases, if there are valid excuses, the defence lawyer can explain and negotiate with the police, but in no way is it recommended for the accused person to try to explain their case.  In the above cases I am referring to cases where you believe that you are under investigation.  Obviously, we all live in this society and there are cases where in fact you will want to talk to the police, such as when you are victim or a witness to a crime or an accident, but even in these circumstances, you may want to have a quick chat with a lawyer before you sit down and make a statement.  Or if you are stopped for speeding or running a stop sign for example, you do need to have some interaction with the police, but keep it limited – there is never any good reason to go into specifics or details (for example, “I didn’t see the sign or the light”).  As a driver, hand over you license and registration and that’s it.  If you are a passenger in a vehicle, you are for the most part under no obligation to even speak with the police (more about passengers in another post).  Bottom line is this: if you are under investigation for a criminal offence, never give any statements to the police.  You don’t have to and every time people do, it ends up hurting them rather than helping them. If you are under investigation or the police want to speak to you, please give me a call at 905-789-9007 or email me at avi@baratzlaw.com.

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