One of the most important things to know about criminal defense in NYC is that speaking to a police officer, a prosecutor, or an agency investigator without a criminal defense attorney is usually a terrible mistake.
Do not fall into the trap of thinking that you can talk your way out of a situation, or that simply stating what happened will be enough to clear things up. Whether the officer speaking to you is friendly or aggressive, anything you say (or omit) can and will be used against you to the utmost. Some statements may be used as admissions; others will be brought up to cast doubt on your credibility.
There is no advantage to be gained by speaking to a police officer on your own. You always have the right to request an attorney, and you should exercise that right as soon as possible.
You should be aware that calling your attorney is a good idea even if you have not yet been arrested. Statements made to officers or agency representatives conducting investigations, such as welfare fraud investigations, will be turned over to the prosecution and used against you later. You have the right to have your defense attorney with you even if you are told that the investigator just wants to speak with you, or “just ask you a few questions.” They might make it sound like no big deal, but the statements you make can wind up clinching your criminal conviction and/or increasing your sentence.
Sometimes New York City police officers or investigators may promise to go easy on you or let you off on other charges if you make an admission. Other times, they may threaten that you will face additional or aggravated charges if you do not make an admission. In most cases, the best thing to do is stay calm and request your lawyer. Any statements you make should be made after a consultation with and in the presence of your attorney.
In many cases, your admission may be the only real proof in the case, and without it the prosecution may not have a case. Why should you provide the evidence that can convict you?
If you have been arrested in New York City, or you believe that you are the target of an investigation, you should retain and consult an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible, before you make any statements. Call our experienced NYC criminal defense attorneys at (212) 227-0860 for an immediate consultation.