How many times a week do I have clients say, “Why did I speak with the police?”
When the police visit you, it is because they suspect you committed a crime.
Usually they do not have enough evidence at the time to arrest you; however, by your offering up evidence, they may get all they need.
The officers may attempt to engage you in a conversation to see if you will admit to the crime — giving them a stronger case against you.
Confessions usually result in a 90% conviction rate for the Government.
People think they can talk their way out of a problem—it rarely works! If a police officer intends to arrest you, there are NOT enough words to change his mind! Talking to him will not help your case, it will only hurt you.
If you are visited by FBI, DEA, IRS or ATF agents (they usually travel in pairs), know that they are not there to wish you a good day.
Politely say you will discuss anything they want, but only with your attorney present. He or she will be able to establish what is going to be discussed and determine the terms of how this information is going to be used.
Most of the initial conversation is not recorded, other than via notes agents take; they may, in fact, not take any. (Is their memory that good?)
Their reason to be there is to solicit evidence of a crime, period; they have invested time, money and effort into finding you, seeking you out and knocking on your door. Be smart and contact an attorney.
To be sure it’s abundantly clear, here are the top ten reasons why you should not talk to law enforcement officials.
Beware of Proffer Letters
Police do not have the authority to negotiate a deal or grant a suspect leniency in exchange for a statement from you. Instead, they need to engage the District Attorney and offer you a proffer letter.
This letter amounts to a seemingly legal contract between you and the government that indemnifies you from being charged or, an assurance that in exchange for testimony about whatever you may have done, you will not be charged with a more severe crime.
But proffer letters do not always protect you in the way you’re made to believe they do.
Caution: Do not agree to the terms of a proffer letter without first talking with a skilled attorney who can look out for your best interest. Better yet, be sure an attorney is present before you say a word!