Everyone who interacts with the criminal justice system should consider retaining counsel. Yes, this extends far beyond folks who stand accused of crimes. Even a witness should consider hiring a criminal defense law attorney. If you're considered a witness in a criminal matter, you should understand what that is and how to handle your situation.
Police and Prosecutors Charge Witnesses
The simple fact is cops and prosecutors can and do charges witnesses with crimes. One of the simplest reasons is because the state believes a witness lied or wasn't forthcoming during an interview. Similarly, the police might determine a person wasn't just a witness and was a participant.
If the police wish to speak with you about a crime, tell them you want to have a lawyer present. They might insist they only need to ask you a few questions, but don't make the mistake of answering them without the benefit of counsel. A criminal defense attorney can listen to the questions, tell you which ones to answer, and explain how to limit your responses.
You have a right to counsel even if the state hasn't charged you with an offense, so assert it. If the cops don't like it, they can either charge you or get a court order from a judge. Notably, you can still have a criminal defense law attorney present in either of those scenarios.
You May Not Be Just a Witness
The police often like to be fuzzy about what people are in cases. They may call someone a witness just to see if it softens their attitude toward answering questions. Similarly, they might not yet have a full idea of who's who in the case. Consequently, they may not be sure who they think is a perpetrator, victim, or witness.
The Police Can Legally Lie to You
Yes, it is legal for them to do so as long as they don't misrepresent what your rights are. A cop might knock on your door and ask if you saw anything the night of an incident. Just because they're treating you like a witness doesn't mean they see you that way.
Defendants Might Try to Pin Crimes on You
The police and prosecution aren't the only players in this game. A defendant may try to leave someone else to take the fall. If this happens, you can't assume the truth will be your shield. A criminal defense attorney, though, can be.
Contact a criminal defense attorney for more information.Share