You know that you didn’t do anything wrong, so when the police show up at your work or at your doorstep asking to talk with you, you might instinctively agree. Answering their questions often seems like the simplest way to end any suspicion they have of your involvement in criminal activity.
Unfortunately, your manners and your instinct to protect yourself by sharing the truth could hurt you in this situation. It is almost always a mistake to talk to the police, especially if you are alone.
What you say to the police can be the basis of charges against you
There are two different ways in which a discussion with law enforcement officials can lead to criminal charges. The first is if you say something intentionally misleading.
If you lied to police and they later learn about this, they could charge you with an offense for intentionally misstating facts. Obstruction or false reporting charges are possible. However, you don’t have to tell a lie for what you say to the police to lead to criminal charges despite your innocence.
Telling the truth won’t always set you free
Sometimes, telling the truth can lead to real legal issues. You may be completely honest and forthright with police in the hope of helping with an investigation, but the officers may ask you questions that make it look like you played a role in criminal activity.
They might get you to admit that you were at a certain place at a certain time or that you had a strained relationship with a specific person. Even contradicting yourself could make you seem suspicious. Things that seem completely harmless could end up being the backbone of the prosecution’s case against you later. There is a reason that the Miranda Warning includes the right to remain silent because what you say to the police can be used against you in a court of law.
If you don’t have someone there helping you walk the fine line between appropriate cooperation and implicating yourself, talking to the police could lead to major legal troubles, including serious criminal charges. Knowing your rights and remembering to call a lawyer before you talk with any police officers can help keep you safe.