Brian A. Vogel - Attorney at Law - Ventura County


In a rush to cooperate with police, people often say things that are incriminating to themselves or their loved ones. They may think that they are helping themselves or their loved ones, or they fear that if they don’t answer questions, they will appear to have something to hide. However, if you are a suspect, you are a suspect whether you talk to police immediately or not. The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution gives you the right to remain silent, which means you do not have to talk to the police. The Sixth Amendment gives you the right to have an attorney present during any questioning.

Do not accept advice from law enforcement on this point! They will always say that it will be better for you or your loved one if you cooperate! They may even believe it, but usually that is not true. Most of the time, if cooperation is in your best interest, the opportunity will still be there to cooperate with counsel present. Cooperation without a lawyer can become an admission or confession. Cooperation with a lawyer becomes a “proffer” or other statement that cannot be used against you.

Furthermore, having a lawyer present also allows you to have a witness present during the conversation. Police reports of interviews often contain information that interviewees say was never said or is misquoted. If a lawyer is present, at least you will have a witness to what was really said and it will not just be your word against the officer’s word.

Even if you think that you are just being contacted as a witness, it is usually a good idea to talk to a lawyer before speaking with police. For example, if you say something that contradicts something said by another witness or another police officer and they believe the other source of information more than they believe you, you may be exposing yourself to a charge of giving false information to a police officer or obstructing the officer in the course of his or her investigation.

Similarly, it is generally not a good idea to talk to the press before consulting an experienced criminal defense attorney. You may want to expose some injustice by talking to the press, but what you say may be misconstrued or misquoted and end up hurting you or your loved one. Always discuss any decision to talk to the press with your lawyer first.

In short, your best interests will be served in almost every situation by having an experienced criminal defense attorney present when making statements to the police or the press.

If you have been contacted by the police:

* Clearly tell the law enforcement officer: “I want to speak to a lawyer first,” and don’t let them talk you out of it. Don’t answer any questions, even if the police tell that you do not need a lawyer.

* Get the name and number of the person who wishes to speak to you and tell them that you will call them back.

* Contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer and follow their advice. If you hire the lawyer, they will contact the police for you.

An experienced attorney will know what can be said or done to help your situation and can speak directly with the District Attorney who will decide whether charges should be filed, and if so, what kind of charges should be filed.

For a free and completely confidential initial consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney, call the Law Offices of Brian A. Vogel, PC at (805) 654-3022.

We look forward to the opportunity to help you. - Email Us

Brian A. Vogel - Attorney at Law - Ventura County

770 County Square Drive, Suite 104
Ventura, CA 93003

  Phone: (805) 654-0400
  Fax: (805) 654-0326
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