Why Would a Detective Call Me?
If you received a call from a detective, you might be under investigation.
The detective might think you are a crime victim, and he is simply trying to gather evidence. However, the detective might think you are the suspect, and he is trying to build a case against you.
This guide discusses ways to determine whether the detective is conducting a criminal investigation against you, and it provides tips on how to protect your rights.
If you were contacted by a detective in New York City, give Cody Warner, P.C. a call. We can discuss your options and make sure your rights are protected.
Reasons Why a Detective Called You
If a detective calls you, he thinks you are one of three things.
- The witness of a crime;
- The victim of a crime; or
- The perpetrator of a crime.
However, a detective will rarely cold call a witness or victim of a crime. The reason for that is that if you are the witness or victim of a crime, then you likely spoke to the police on the scene. If you spoke to the police at the scene, then you probably gave them your contact information, and you had expected to receive further communication from the police.
If a detective cold calls you and asks you to come to the precinct or leaves you a voice message, then unfortunately you are likely a suspect.
A person can become a crime suspect through a variety of ways. For instance, a suspect’s ex could call the police and allege domestic violence. Or, an informant could tell the police that the suspect sold drugs.
Regardless of how the investigation began, if you received a call from a detective, you should proceed cautiously and strategically.
What to Do if a Detective Calls You
If a detective calls you and tells you about allegations against you, or he simply asks you to come to the precinct, you should hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
By far, the worst thing you can do is talk to the police about any alleged incident.
Many people think that they can “explain away” an incident so that the police do not arrest them. For instance, let’s say the police call you and say you are accused of assault. You got into a fight with someone, but you were acting in self-defense. You therefore tell the detective all about the incident. What you may not realize, though, is that self-defense is a defense to a crime, but an assertion of self-defense does not make an arrest unlawful. So, by telling the officer that you punched someone—even if in self-defense—you have given the officer probable cause to arrest you for assault. Police will typically arrest a person if the arrest is supported by probable cause, and they will let the court sort out whether any defenses apply.
Another common problem with speaking to the police is that the police find tricky ways to use your interrogation to establish identity. For instance, let’s say that the police ask you to come to the station to speak about a murder incident. The detective asks if you want something to drink, and he hands you a soda. As you sip your soda, you tell the detective you weren’t near the incident location and know nothing about it. You toss your soda into the trash can and ask to leave. After you exit the interrogation, the detective collects the soda can and submits it for DNA testing. By agreeing to speak to the police—even though you said nothing of substance—you unknowingly provided your DNA on the soda can, which can be used against you to establish your identity.
How a Lawyer Can Protect You
If you retain a lawyer, your lawyer can protect your rights in many way. First, once you retain counsel, your 6th Amendment right to counsel attaches. Once your lawyer contacts the detective to say you retained a lawyer, it’s game over for the police. They can’t question you without your lawyer present, and your lawyer can make sure that any discussions with the police are under favorable terms.
Secondly, your lawyer creates distance between you and law enforcement. In other words, your lawyer can explain the situation to the police in effort to get the charges minimized or dropped, but your lawyer’s words won’t be used against you. Since it’s your lawyer talking to the police, the prosecution can’t later use those words against you by telling the jury that “the defendant said X.”
Perhaps even more importantly, your lawyer can gather information from the detective and give you an honest assessment of the situation. An experienced criminal lawyer can tell you whether you are looking at bail, jail, or a criminal record. He can help you understand the case against you, and he can develop a master plan for getting the best possible outcome.
If you were contacted by a detective in NYC, contact Cody Warner, P.C. for a free consultation. Cody routinely gets his clients’ charges dropped, and he can make sure that you strategically navigate your case.