As a Philadelphia criminal defense attorney I am often asked "Should I talk to a Philadelphia police officer or detective who wants to talk to me?" I think it is important to begin with this thought: Police and detectives deserve respect and courtesy. Don’t be rude, be respectful. The answer to the question of whether you should speak with the police or a detective who contacts you is flat out NO. I want to be clear about this: you do not have to call or speak with the police officer or detective who contacted you. It doesn’t matter if it was a small theft or assault, a drug case or a murder. You have the right to remain silent and to speak with an attorney.
You are not required to talk to police or detectives and no, it doesn’t make you look guilty. It is one of our fundamental rights. If they are reaching out to you, you need to reach out to me.
If you are in direct communication with them or they catch you unexpectedly simply tell them “I will not make any statement, I want to speak with my attorney.” Then call me for a free consultation at 215-712-1212.
I am often asked about whether a person should talk to a Philadelphia police officer or detective and the reason the answer is “No” is quite simple: you have a fundamental right to not incriminate yourself. I believe in that right. There is only one reason a police officer or detective would want to speak with you – to gain information from you which is going to be used against you. They are highly skilled interrogators. They often tell you they are looking for someone else, or that you may have just been a witness. Decline the interview and call me.
A man is contacted by detectives asking for an “interview.” They told him that he wasn’t a suspect, but they just needed some information. In reality, there had been a break in to a commercial building and his fingerprints were found on the window. He was definitely a suspect and this was not going to be a simple “interview.” As it turns out, his fingerprints were on the window because he worked for the glass company that replaced it. He was not a burglar.
If you have a card placed in your door or get a text or a voicemail from the police or detectives call me before you respond to them.
You have the right to remain silent. Do so with police or detectives, and don’t worry about how things look or whether or not you will seem guilty or uncooperative. If they had enough to charge you, they would. They are seeking information to solve their case. Don’t respond to them before you call me for a free consultation at 215-712-1212.