You’re relaxing in your home when you receive a call from the police. The officer on the line informs you that the police want to interview you for a criminal investigation, that they want to ask a few questions, or maybe even tell you that they want your side of the story.
Regardless of how they frame it they always tell you it’s important for you to come to the station right away.
The police are skilled at making you feel as if you need to make a statement. They are trying to get you to confirm that you were involved in the incident they are investigating, or they are trying to get you to lie.
Either way, it will work against you. They may even give you a tight time limit, for example, saying you need to arrive in half an hour. It’s all designed to keep you under pressure and without time to think.
Regardless of their tactics, you should that the situation seriously. First, stop and take a deep breath, and then:
CALL A CRIMINAL DEFENCE LAWYER
Don’t make a statement on the phone. Just confirm who you’re talking to and where they want you to surrender. Don’t negotiate or try to claim your innocence. The first thing you need to do now is to call a lawyer.
Although they may have implied that you need to show up immediately, you actually have a much longer window to arrive. You have time to contact a lawyer, and you should always get counsel before turning yourself in.
DO I HAVE TO GO
The police will try to make you feel as if you must show up for a police interview. However, you are not legally required to go. That being said, if you fail to appear there is a possibility that the police will locate and arrest you. In which case, they’ll get their interview anyway.
Addressing this question is one of the first benefits ways a lawyer will help. Your criminal defence lawyer can call the police on your behalf. During this call, they can determine whether or not you need to go to the police interview.
That being said, your lawyer will usually advise that you do not give a statement and remain silent.
WHAT TO DO BEFORE GOING TO A POLICE INTERVIEW
When you first get the call, the first thing you need to do is avoid giving a statement on the phone. You have a right not to incriminate yourself. Once you get off the call, contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
Your lawyer will help you prepare your surrender. The lawyer can help to negotiate the surrender timing, for example, allowing you to go the following morning or giving you time to complete other important tasks.
As well, they can advise you on what to bring to the station as anything you bring has the potential to be confiscated, such as your phone or money.
They may be able to give you an idea of whether you are likely to be released after the police interview, or held on bail. If there is a concern that you may be held, your lawyer can help you decide on a surety and advise on a release plan.
As well, a defence lawyer will want to make sure you understand your Charter rights before you surrender. So you know what information you need to provide and when you can stay silent. This can help keep you from incriminating yourself.
IN THE INTERVIEW
Once you are in the interview, the police will pressure you to give a statement. But, you do not have to give one. In a criminal investigation, you have a right to silence and a right against self-incrimination.
You do not have to say or admit to anything that can make you look culpable.
HAVE YOU BEEN CONTACTED FOR A POLICE INTERVIEW?
If you have been contacted for a police interview, you need a criminal defence lawyer immediately. William Jaksa is a Toronto criminal lawyer with a wealth of experience defending people’s rights. He will help you understand your rights and options as well as preparing you for the interview.
Contact William Jaksa today for a consultation.