What to do if the police contact you

On Behalf of | Mar 21, 2024 | Criminal Defense

No matter what they may say, there’s no such thing as a simple conversation or a friendly chat with the police. If a police investigator contacts you and wants to ask you questions, it’s wisest to assume that you’re a suspect in some crime.

So, how do you handle this situation? You need to understand your options:

You do not have to respond to the inquiries

If the police reach out to you and indicate that they’d like your voluntary cooperation, you are under no obligation to even return their call (or answer the door, whichever the case may be). Your Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination is clear: You don’t have to speak to the police if you aren’t inclined to do so.

It’s always possible that the police will decide that they have enough “reasonable suspicion” that you’re involved in a crime to temporarily detain you and force you to come to the station – but they still can’t oblige you to speak with them. 

They can (and will) try to pressure you into engaging with them, however. You can put a stop to this by clearly, unequivocally vocalizing the fact that you’re invoking your Fifth Amendment rights. Then, simply stop talking. 

You also have the option of getting legal guidance before you decide if and when you are willing to speak with the authorities. It’s possible that it could be to your advantage to have a discussion, but it takes experience to navigate the situation. It is not something you want to try to handle on your own.