Police questioning can occurr throughout an investigation. It is almost always preferable to have an attorney present before answering any questions or making a statement if you are a suspect or were involved in the commission of a crime. You have the right to remain silent, saying you want an attorney should terminate questioning and cannot be held against you. If you are simply a witness and will not be incriminating yourself, then you may not need an attorney, but every case is different. Many people think they can "talk" their way out of an arrest, but unfortunately that does not occurr. Even worse, people incriminate themselves, give information that will incriminate them or ruin their future credibility as a witness by not being completely honest.
With police questioning, you are at a disadvantage as you do not know what the officers know and can prove. Variations of the actual facts, even minor ommissions or mistatements can completely undermine any testimony you may give in the future. Generally, if you are a suspect arrested or not free to go then you will be mirandized or told your rights to have an attorney, remain silent, and anything you say can be used against you. During an investigatory phase of a case where you meet with the police voluntarily and are told you are free to leave and not under arrest, you may not have to be told those Miranda rights. Statements at the police station are ususally videotaped and recorded.
There are cases where it may be in your best interest to talk with police officers because your complete and 100% truthful statements may be considered when deciding whether to arrest you or to file charges. If you have a defense or explanation and don't talk, then without your statement, the police and District Attorney only have the information showing your involvement in the crime and they are more likely to arrest and prosecute. This can be one of the most important decisions to make in a case. Call the experienced Criminal Defense Lawyers at Christoph Law Offices at 760-941-5720 for a free initial consultation. For over 32 years across from Vista Courts, we have been providing guidance for those under investigation.