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September 24, 2015 by Ken White

"Don't talk to law enforcement without consulting a lawyer" is simple advice. Anyone can
follow it. Most of us understand why it's a good idea. But too many people reject the advice
because of a common and misplaced fear. It's the fear that if they don't return that
detective's call immediately, if they don't invite the FBI agents at their door in and
answer their questions, if they don't cooperate, they will be seen as the sort of person
who wants a lawyer. They will be seen as someone suspicious. They will lose the opportunity
to "clear all this up" by "cooperating."

If I say I want to talk to a lawyer, won't I make things worse?

No. Almost certainly not.

When you view any interaction as your only opportunity to "cooperate," you're accepting a
false premise, a law enforcement pressure tactic calculated to get you to act against your
best interests and better judgment. On television, cops constantly tell suspects "you have
to talk now, talk first, or we'll give a deal to your buddy." On television, that proposition
is presented as true. But real life isn't like television. In real life, that "now or never"
proposition is almost always false. In 21 years practicing criminal law, I have never seen a
circumstance where stopping the interview and talking to a lawyer would have destroyed
someone's opportunity to talk to law enforcement and resulted in harm to their best interests.
There's always been another chance, once the client has talked to a lawyer and taken advantage
of competent advice about the situation.

The police want you to talk immediately, now, when they are unexpectedly at your front door.
They want you to be startled, nervous, out-of-sorts. They want you to blurt things out - either
admit true things that they can use against you, or make false statements that they can disprove
and use to show you're a liar. They don't want you to have time to collect your thoughts, to
refresh your memory about the events they are asking about, to look at any relevant documents
or evidence, or to figure out the legal significance of the situation. The police know that's
against your best interests. They know that you should talk to a lawyer first. How do you know
that they know that? You know because police officers consistently push for state laws and
union rules allowing them to talk to a lawyer, review evidence, and take advantage of a
waiting period before being interviewed about use-of-force incidents.

Good people - honest people - tend to think "I've done nothing wrong, so if I tell the truth
now, I can clear this up." They think "talking can't hurt me because I haven't done anything
wrong, and because I won't lie." It would be wonderful if that were true, but it's not.

First, you may not know whether you've done anything wrong. There are tens of thousands of
federal, state, and local laws. Many of them are obscure. Do you know all of them? If you
talk to law enforcement without consulting a lawyer, you may confess to a crime without knowing
it.

Second, you probably don't have an eidetic memory. You're capable of remembering things wrong,
especially under stress, and especially when talking about complex or distant events. If you
tell law enforcement something based on your faulty memory, they may decide that you are lying
deliberately, and charge you with making false statements, or use your statement to attack your
credibility later when you remember the truth.

Third, law enforcement agents may be questioning you not to investigate and discover evidence,
but to trap you. It is routine now - particularly with federal law enforcement - for agents to
approach a suspect at the close of their investigation, not at the start of it, in hopes of
piling more charges onto the prospective defendant. Federal agents will approach a suspect,
ask them if they did something, and if they say "no," add a charge of making a false statement
onto whatever charges they were already seeking.

Fourth, regrettably, it doesn't matter whether you are telling the truth. It matters whether
law enforcement thinks you are telling the truth, or cares. If those FBI agents interviewing
you have already made up their minds about the facts of a situation, by talking to them you're
only making it easier for them to mount a misguided case against you, or handing them an
opportunity to charge you (unjustly) with making false statements.

Consider the case of Professor Xi Xiaoxing, a physicist at Temple University. The Department of
Justice charged Dr. Xi with leaking sensitive technical information to China. They were wrong -
the items in question were not sensitive or protected. The FBI agents and the federal prosecutors
assigned to the case didn't understand the science and didn't bother to learn it, so they
proceeded based on a false premise. They arrested Dr. Xi, prosecuted him, threatened to put him
in jail, threatened to destroy his life based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the facts.
Sometimes the government gets complex things wrong like that. Sometimes they get simple things
wrong - like when they stubbornly believe an informant who is actually lying. When you talk to
law enforcement under those circumstances, their false conclusions put you at peril.

Ultimately, consulting a lawyer before you answer law enforcement questions is like wearing a
seat belt when you drive. Is it hypothetically possible that in an accident a malfunctioning
seat belt could trap you in a burning car, like you've seen on TV, so you die? It's possible.
But refusing to wear a seat belt because of that remote, speculative danger is a foolish
misapprehension of relative risks. It ignores the far more probable, far more dangerous risk
presented by getting into an accident without a seat belt, and it ignores all the ways that a
seat belt can dramatically mitigate your risk.

Don't talk to law enforcement without consulting qualified counsel first.

http://www.brownwhitelaw.com/if-i-just-talk-to-the-police-i-can-clear-this-up-the-dangerous-delusion/
 

· Clinger
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So exactly who is the target audience ? using phrases like " eidetic memory " " out-of-sorts" and " speculative danger" makes me think it's not geared to the " Yo! MTV Rap " demographic.
 

· Just zis guy, you know?
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Police Officer: Sir, do you know why I pulled you over.
Me: I want an attorney

How did I do?
Fail. You forgot to yell "AM I BEING DETAINED?!"
 

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Hey its Friday Mazel Tov.

But I think he maybe talking about a after actoin incident as a self defense shooting.
Which in that case after you call the police call your lawyer and say nothing till he tells you. End of story.
 

· win support for firearms - train a new shooter
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I'll say OP was TLDR.

BUT I will say watch this.
Could it be TLDR because you know this already for serious matters involving the law?
While I know it, it's good to be reminded every so often if the time ever comes when I believe I'm innocent and in the right , while being loudly told I'm not cooperating and being threatened with further charges
 

· INFIDEL
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Hell, If you dont like the Police, next time you need help call obama............He dont like them either. ...
 

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The advice is mostly good. Many a rapist, murderer, pedophile, drug dealer, etc. did not self-incriminate, requested a lawyer and got off scott-free for lack of any other evidence.

Real World - many a deal is made and people that were recently handcuffed become 'witnesses' against others as opposed to "co-defendants". Despite what the OP says, it actually happens quite often. It is MUCH harder to do once you're arrested, charged, in the system, hours of paperwork done, dozens of copies carried, faxed and emailed everywhere - and lawyers are involved.

Your results may vary.
 

· Banned
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The advice is mostly good. Many a rapist, murderer, pedophile, drug dealer, etc. did not self-incriminate, requested a lawyer and got off scott-free for lack of any other evidence.

Real World - many a deal is made and people that were recently handcuffed become 'witnesses' against others as opposed to "co-defendants". Despite what the OP says, it actually happens quite often. It is MUCH harder to do once you're arrested, charged, in the system, hours of paperwork done, dozens of copies carried, faxed and emailed everywhere - and lawyers are involved.

Your results may vary.
Would it be safe to assume that many of these "tough guys" turn into babies when faced with charges?

How a pedo or rapist makes it out of the interrogation room is beyond me.

ETA. That last statement was in no way a shot at cops. I fully admit there would come a time I would fail when faced with someone spilling their guts to me about something they did.
 

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Would it be safe to assume that many of these "tough guys" turn into babies when faced with charges?

How a pedo or rapist makes it out of the interrogation room is beyond me.
Lol, often 25-year-olds with previous stab and gunshot wounds, yelling for their mother on the street and crying in the cell. The tough guys ask when's the sandwich and then fall fast asleep. .
 
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· Premium Member
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Hey its Friday Mazel Tov.

But I think he maybe talking about a after actoin incident as a self defense shooting.
Which in that case after you call the police call your lawyer and say nothing till he tells you. End of story.
Following a self defense shooting, Massad Ayoob recommends that you do a little talking before you shut up.

He says, without going into details, you should establish your claim as the victim, point out any evidence that helps you and point out any witnesses before they wander off. Then you should tell them that you intend to fully cooperate after you consult with your lawyer.
 

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Following a self defense shooting, Massad Ayoob recommends that you do a little talking before you shut up.

He says, without going into details, you should establish your claim as the victim, point out any evidence that helps you and point out any witnesses before they wander off. Then you should tell them that you intend to fully cooperate after you consult with your lawyer.
I would point out any witnesses, that's it. MAYBE and I mean MAYBE I'd point out any evidence that would support any future statement I think I might make.

Other than that, I'd STFU.
 
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