What Should I Do If the Police Call Me And Want to Talk?

Most people look to hire a lawyer after they have been arrested and charged with a crime.

But if you are being investigated for a crime, having a lawyer can sometimes prevent you from ever being charged with a crime at all.

This can happen in situations where police are conducting an investigation into a possible crime. I regularly get calls from people when the police are investigating charges like hit and run, OUItheft, or other charges.

The police will often call you or stop by your home if they get a call from a witness who wrote down a license plate, they claim was involved in a crime, and you are the owner of the vehicle suspected of being involved.

It can also happen if you are known to the police, perhaps from a prior offense or complaint report, and they are investigating similar or related crimes. I’ve had this happen with clients involved in some sex offense cases.

What Should I Do If the Police Want to Talk to Me?

Police OfficerI recommend that you should not speak to the police on any criminal investigation all without an attorney.

Remember, you are never obligated to talk to the police. But they may keep calling if they want to question you, for whatever reason.

They can come to your home, or your work and the continuous requests and contacts they make can be quite threatening and intimidating. They are calling to you gather evidence for a case, very possibly against you.

But what if the police are threatening me with MORE charges if I don’t talk?

They do that sometimes. And it is legitimately scary.

You still shouldn’t talk to them.

I had a client who was being accused of leaving the scene of an accident. The officer left a message that said: “If you don’t talk to me, I will have to also charge you with malicious destruction of property for damage caused in the accident.”

This is almost certainly a bluff and a tactic.

I can completely understand why ignoring the police and hoping the extra charge doesn’t happen sounds like a terrible legal strategy. But in some cases, that’s exactly the best plan if you’ve got a lawyer representing you.

Most of the time, they are threatening you because they don’t have enough to charge you with, and that’s the easiest way for them to gather evidence. Don’t help them.

In drug cases, there are also situations where the police may be trying to threaten you into becoming a drug informant. That can be dangerous, and is also very often not in your best interest.

It’s Simple. Do Not Agree to Talk To Police Without a Lawyer.

Just don’t. If they call you, don’t call them back.

If you accidentally pick up the phone or answer the door, and the police are there just say firmly and calmly, “I Do Not Wish To Speak To You Without My Lawyer Present.” End of conversation. Hang up or close the door.

If you get in a conversation, or any back and forth at all, you are at tremendous risk of saying something incriminating.

And some people simply can’t help themselves from confessing. It is understandable. Police are trained at getting people to admit things that are against their interest.

But no matter what you say, anything could be misconstrued, misinterpreted, or otherwise used against you. There is no Miranda in effect if the police are just talking to you, and you aren’t under arrest. And even then, Miranda does not offer the protections most people think it does.

When I’ve had clients that did decide talk to the police, and thought they were being careful and helpful, it still often goes wrong. Police can take what you say out of context, and deliberately or accidentally misunderstand your statement, and turn it around against you.

If you don’t talk to the police, they won’t have anything they can say about you.

How do I stop the police from calling me?

The easiest thing to do is get a lawyer to intermediate and head them off. Let me talk to them for you.

If you get a phone message from a police officer asking to speak to you about a crime, call me immediately.

As your attorney, I can call them back and be your intermediary so they won’t keep calling you. I can provide any basic factual information that might be appropriate for the situation, or none at all.

I will tell the police that any further contact must be through me, so they can no longer bother you directly.

The harassment will end, immediately. In many cases, the police won’t have anything else to go on, and the case will simply be dropped. Or, at a minimum, the police will have to proceed with whatever evidence they already have, and you haven’t inadvertently given them more information to use against you.

This can ultimately prevent you from being charged at all.

Can You Really Prevent a Criminal Charge?

Not in every case, but absolutely, it often works out that way. If the police simply don’t get enough evidence, then they can’t charge anyone. The case may simply never happen.

And if you do still get charged, it was almost certainly going to happen anyway and was not avoidable. So we move on to other defenses and ways to beat the case.

Will the Police Really Give Up the Investigation That Easily?

Sometimes, yes. In cases of fairly minor crimes like hit and run, where no one was injured, and the damage was covered by insurance, many officers and police departments just won’t make much effort in these investigations.

This is not always the case, and some departments can be aggressive and relentless, and take any investigation very seriously. So, it really depends.

Will the Police Be Suspicious If I Have My Lawyer Involved Over a Simple Question?

Maybe. But, suspicion doesn’t add up to much. And there are perfectly understandable reasons why some people just don’t want to talk to the police under any circumstances.

Some people have had a bad person experience with a police officer and are legitimately mistrustful. Some communities and cultures are used to corrupt police officer not protecting their interests.

And some people are just paranoid, legitimately or not.

NONE of these reasons for not talking to the police are evidence that suggests you are guilty of a crime.

And not talking to the police is absolutely the best way to avoid both being arrested, or ultimately convicted of a crime.

If you do ultimately get arrested or issued a criminal citation for you to appear at a clerk magistrate’s hearing, there are still lots of opportunities to beat the case at that stage, and still end a case before you are ever technically charged with a crime.

Please give me a call if you are accused of any crime, or being questioned or harassed by the police. I can help.

  • Ronaldus_Maximus

    Never, ever talk to the police. Anything you say will be twisted and made to fit their narrative. I was stopped for a DUI once and offhandedly told the cop that if he wanted me to say the alphabet backwards, it wasn’t going to happen. Not cause I was refusing, but because I can’t even do that stone cold sober.
    In the report, it was written that I refused.
    Remember, first call isn’t to your mom, it’s to your lawyer.

  • Good points!
    Fortunately, in Massachusetts, refusing to perform any field sobriety tests can’t be used against you in court, so it doesn’t matter if they write in their report that you refused.
    Declining to perform any tests is declining to give the police evidence against you!

  • Ronaldus_Maximus

    In Missouri, they can not only arrest your for refusing, they can forcibly draw blood. Yay, America…

  • Yes, that is true in many states. Texas, and Illinois also have forced blood draws I believe.
    And many states do allow officer’s to testify about field test refusals.
    We are fortunate in Massachusetts that the State Supreme Judicial Court generally does a decent job on civil liberties.

    You always need to know the laws in your state. I think there are some states where lawyers recommend that you DON’T refuse the field test, but I’m not sure which ones.
    In Massachusetts, it is safest to always refuse everything.

  • Crystal

    I was not charged for anything and the cops let me go but the detective called me back five days later because he said he wanted to finish his report and wanted to talk back at police department . I went to the department but he wasn’t there they told me he would get in touch next week . Should I be worried ? Call a layer ?

  • Hard to assess whether you are at risk of being charged without any details.
    Please feel free to call to discuss.
    (781) 817-6332

  • Shaun

    Hi I had a police officers call me left a message I call her back she told me she was busy. And she would call me back she didn’t call me I called. Her she told me she was off work. I asks her what it was she said a police report was filed and she. Would call me tomorrow

  • anonymous person

    I have a question about the part of them giving up easily if insurance pays for damages and they have no proof. The insurance needs a statement about what happened, (hit and run vehicle left behind but police can’t identify driver of my car and have no leads or proof), if the police have nothing what statement should be made to the insurance so they pay for the damages to my car and the unattended car that was hit and damaged without incriminating oneself as the driver of the hit and run but still get them to pay for it?

  • When people hire us, we intervene and tell the insurance company to just pay it without the client admitting anything. It can’t be used against you in such a case.
    But if you admit it yourself, it could be a problem.
    If you are talking about a Massachusetts case, give us a call.

  • Hoàng Nhật

    this is gotta help lot of criminals get away with their crime. Seriously, I had clear evidence that my roommate stole my friend’s credit card, since his name and phone number appeared on the invoice that the bank sent to him. I called the cop and they knocked on his door and all it did to drive the cop off was for him to NOT OPEN HIS DOOR? come on if that isnt some b.s i’ve heard about

  • Kelly Kirk

    If the police contact you and say they need to “speak” with you and you respond with “I think I need to contact an Attorney”. The police then say NO you do not need an Attorney.
    Can they do that?

  • It is more likely that they would say “it would be better for you to clear things up with us. If you don’t talk to us, and get an attorney, we will be more likely to charge you.”
    And that probably isn’t true. If they were gonna charge you, they are gonna charge you.
    They usually aren’t going to say NO YOU DON’T NEED AN ATTORNEY, but they might try to talk you out if it.
    Which probably means you really need an attorney.

  • lacy wilson

    what happend if u was charged 3 months ago about something and the police call you three months later with something deal with the same case

  • Anna

    So I just got a call from a dective today to come down to the police station on Monday for questions about a crime but I told him ok I will come but I really don’t want anything to do with it especially when I haven’t been involve with the crime. I do not know what to do and can not afford an attorney.

  • You are never under any obligation to speak to the police.
    If you aren’t involved, don’t worry about it. If you are concerned about being implicated, don’t go, and don’t talk to them without a lawyer present.

  • mitch callahan

    You’re absolutely correct and it’s complete bullshit

  • James Jury

    note the GOP stronghold states seem to be the most intrusive regarding LOCAL governments. Yeah they dont like big FEDs, so they can do whatever the hell they want LOCALLY.

  • Luqman Ravat

    I work for a valet company and the past couple
    OF months some guns got stolen from people’s cars. This morning I got a call from a detective saying that he questioning all the valets that work with me and he would like me to come in for questioning. Should I get a lawyer?

  • You are not obligated to speak with the police.
    If you are concerned about how that might look, you should speak to a local attorney about the implications of doing so, and the benefits of having a lawyer as an intermediary.

  • bob

    If you got called by a cop to talk to him 3-4 years ago and you didn’t go and they never called you back. Has the case been dropped? Did they give up? And can a minor suspicion end up on a background check?

  • Quite unlikely anything else will happen after 3-4 years. Cops don’t spend time working on years old “cold cases” unless new evidence pops up and it’s an extremely serious charge.

    No, there is no “minor suspicion” level background check. Even if your name is in an old police file somewhere as a possible witness or person of interest, that isn’t public information. Only an actual arrest might show up on a background check.

  • Peter Vincini

    Have an attorney even if you’re not a suspect, but want to be a witness to solve a crime. It is much better to send any statements or information through your attorney. That way, if a coworker or roommate commits a crime, your statements can’t be used to paint you as an accomplice. The police/prosecutors sometimes do that if your statements (potential testimony) are not as strong as they want to hear. They will threaten to charge you as an accomplice unless you follow their script.