A white-collar crime charge can threaten your future in more ways than one. If convicted, you could face extensive incarceration, irreparable harm to your career and reputation, and penalties that leave on the precipice of financial ruin. To avoid those outcomes, you need to be prepared to defend yourself as effectively as possible. That starts during the criminal investigation.
Once you find out that you’re under suspicion of committing a white-collar crime, you’re bound to be riddled with nervousness. To shake that feeling and get the matter over with as quickly as possible, you might be tempted to voluntarily talk to the police to explain away any concerns and suspicions they hold. While this is an understandable feeling to experience in a time of stress, talking to the police can be a costly mistake that sets you up for conviction.
Top reasons why you shouldn’t talk to the police
Talking to the police is rarely in your best interests. Here’s why:
- The police are limited in what they can do for you: You might think that by coming clean to the police you can get some sort of deal that allows you to avoid harsh penalties. In reality, though, the police don’t have the authority to offer you plea deals, even if they say they do. Therefore, there isn’t much benefit to you when talking to the police unless the prosecutor is present. And even then, you should be sure to have your attorney at your side.
- The police can take your words out of context: Even if you try to be as clear as possible, the police can twist your words out of context to keep you talking as you try to explain what you’ve said. This can trip you up and leave you looking guilty, even if you’ve done nothing wrong.
- The police can lie to you: The police are allowed to lie to you when you’re being interrogated. When the police claim that they have evidence that implicates you in the crime, you might be tempted to talk about why their wrong or even confess. Don’t be tripped up by this tricky tactic.
- You might accidentally destroy your credibility: Talking to the police about a crime is a stressful situation. When you do so, you might unintentionally misstate a fact. The moment you do, your credibility is going to be devastated, and the police will use that against you. It might even become a key fact at trial if you’re eventually charged.
- You might miss an opportunity to negotiate a lesser charge: Even if you’ve committed the crime in question, there might be mitigating factors that warrant a plea deal on a lesser charge with less severe penalties. But if you confess right off the bat, then it’s going to be hard for you to backpedal to protect your interests.
- It’s hard to tell the same story the same on multiple occasions: Remember, the police are looking for any inconsistencies in your statements that they can use against you. If you allow yourself to be questioned multiple times, then it’s going to be easier for them to pick up on any discrepancies, regardless of how little they might be. This can impact your credibility.
Know how to protect yourself during the criminal investigation and prosecution processes
There’s simply too much on the line for you to not be prepared while you face criminal investigation. To protect yourself as fully as possible, it’s a good idea to know your rights, keep quiet, and only talk after advised to do so with your attorney.