Attorney Ben Schwartz answers the question that a lot of folks have but just don’t ask. Should I take a lawyer to my police interview?
Hey folks I am Attorney Ben Schwartz,
Today we are going to do a viewer question. This is from Rick in Yardley, Pennsylvania. Rick emailed me, he said Delaware State Police have called. They want to set up a time to interview my teenage son in reference to some sort of incident or matter. And basically, Rick wants to know, Should we take a lawyer with us to this interview?
Rick, I appreciate you writing in. This is a very common question that we get in my law firm. The question that you are asking, I applaud you for asking the question. I applaud you for recognizing that there is a need for legal counsel in this situation. However, you are asking the wrong question. The question should not be whether should we go to the interview and take a lawyer with us. The question should be, should we go to the interview in the first place? And let me tell you, the answer is NO!, NO WAY! Absolutely not under any circumstances.
The reason I say this is because if the police are contacting you about a criminal investigation. First as a U.S. Citizen, under the fifth amendment to the United States Constitution, you have the right to remain silent. This means that you absolutely do not ever have to submit to a police interrogation or interview.
The second thing is that, as a criminal defense attorney, what I can tell you about criminal investigations is, when the police get a complaint or when the police receive information that a crime may have been committed. The first thing that they do is NOT start interviewing the potential suspects. The first thing they do is start interviewing the potential witnesses. They start gathering tangible physical evidence. They start digging into the case to try and find out what happened. And then the last thing they do is generally interview the suspects.
The purpose of interviewing the suspect, at least in my humble opinion, is not really to put the case together. The purpose of interviewing the suspect is really to see if the suspect will confess to the crime. If the suspect will confess to the crime; if the suspect will make statements implicating themselves in the crime. Maybe they make a statement admitting that they were there at the time and place that the incident occurred. That is one less thing that the prosecutor has to prove at trial.
So I would say, you never take your kid to an interview with the police where your child is suspected of participating in some sort of a criminal incident. The first thing you do is contact an attorney. You let the attorney deal with it. You never voluntarily submit to an interrogation by the police. You never voluntarily submit your child to an interrogation with the police. You contact an attorney.
Your instinct Rick is correct. Your instinct to contact an attorney is correct, but as I always tell people, you do not keep a dog and bark yourself. Let the attorney that you have hired handle the situation from here. Folks I hope that you have learned something today. Maybe you learned something about the constitution. Maybe you learned something about the way an attorney thinks. Or maybe you have learned something about the process when it comes to criminal defense cases.
If you have a question like Rick’s question, something that I can answer, general information, not legal advice but general information. Where we can do a video. We can educate people in the community about a legal topic. Whether it has to do with criminal defense or personal injury or what have you. Send me an email. My email address is Ben.Schwartz@SchwartzandSchwartz.com.
Thanks for watching.