If You Are Under Investigation, Should You Talk To The Police Without A Criminal Defense Attorney?
As a Tampa criminal defense lawyer, I get a lot of questions from people concerning the criminal justice system here in the Tampa Bay area.
One of the most common questions I get from people that are under investigation by law enforcement is whether or not they should speak to Tampa Police, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Deputies, or federal agents about their case without the assistance of a criminal defense lawyer.
If a Tampa Police Detective, a Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Detective, or a Tampa DEA or FBI federal agent wants to question you concerning your involvement in a crime, you need to contact an experienced Tampa criminal lawyer immediately. Don’t speak to law enforcement on your own.
You may be tempted to think that because you are completely innocent, that you have nothing to lose by consenting to an interview with law enforcement – right? You would be wrong. If you consent to a police interrogation outside the presence of an attorney, misunderstandings can occur, which potentially could land you in a Hillsborough County criminal courtroom or a Tampa federal criminal courtroom.
Sometimes, persons under investigations think that as long as the police don’t read them their Miranda Rights, that nothing they say can be used against them. In most cases, that’s not true. That’s because an experienced Tampa Police or Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Detective knows how to get around having to read a suspect their Miranda Rights.
What Protections Can A Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney Provide You During A Meeting With Law Enforcement Officers?
If a Tampa Police Detective, a Hillsborough County Sherriff’s Office Detective, a Tampa FBI agent, or a Tampa DEA agent contacts you and asks to question you about a criminal investigation, get help from an experienced Tampa criminal defense lawyer.
In many cases, after speaking with you regarding the facts of the case, a criminal defense attorney may advise you not to speak with law enforcement investigators. However, if you decide it’s in your best interests to speak with investigators, here are just a few protections that a Tampa criminal defense attorney can provide:
- A criminal defense attorney can make sure that police don’t try to bully or trick you into making an admission.
- A criminal defense attorney can guide and advise you during the meeting with police, so that you don’t make admissions that are against your interests.
- If the police try to make false promises in order to get you to make an admission, a criminal defense lawyer can step in and end the interrogation.
- A criminal defense attorney can make sure any statement that you make is accurately recorded.
- A criminal defense lawyer can assure that there are no miscommunications during the interview that could lead to the officer thinking that a suspect has confessed when in fact he has not.
- In some cases, the criminal defense lawyer can answer a detective’s questions on your behalf. What your criminal defense lawyer says to the police can’t be used against you at a trial.
- A criminal defense lawyer can help you to avoid a potential charge of lying to a federal investigator, which is a federal criminal offense punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison.
- If you decide to speak to the police, your criminal defense attorney can request a proffer agreement from the state or federal prosecutor. With a proffer letter, the general rule is that as long as you tell the truth, nothing you say during the proffer meeting can be used against you in court.
The 5th Amendment to the United States Constitution states that no person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself or herself in a criminal case. However, if you decide to voluntarily speak to the police without the assistance of an experienced Tampa criminal defense lawyer, you are giving up that very important right. Don’t do it.
Contact Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney David C. Hardy
Attorney David C. Hardy is a highly experienced Tampa criminal defense attorney. Attorney Hardy is a former prosecutor that is Florida Board Certified and Nationally Board Certified as an Expert in Criminal Trial Law. He has extensive experience handling Tampa criminal cases, and he takes pride in guiding his clients through the criminal justice process and working with them to obtain the best possible results in each and every case. Contact the Hardy Law Firm, P.A. and get help today.