When a detective contacts you, it is generally because he believes you are a suspect in an offense. What is really important to remember here is the detective has very likely formed an opinion about your guilt, and he is contacting you to verify his suspicions. Sometimes all he’s looking for is corroboration that puts you at the location at the time of the alleged offense. He’s not necessarily looking for a confession.
What detectives will commonly do is ask you to come down to the police department, or simply have a conversation with them over the phone. They do not tell you that you are under arrest, and very often they will tell you the opposite. They will tell you they just want your side of the story, that they do not expect to place you under arrest, that they really don’t have any evidence of an offense even occurring.
Detectives are allowed to lie to you. They’re allowed to say whatever it takes to illicit a favorable response for them.
The reason they ask you to come down on your own terms, without placing you under arrest is because they know, if you are not under arrest, or in custody, they don’t have to provide you with Miranda warnings. They don’t have to tell you that you have a right to an attorney because at that point, you don’t.
It is important to contact an attorney as soon as a detective contacts you to determine whether or not you want to give a statement, and what parameters are going to be placed on that conversation.
Want to learn more? Check out other informational blogs and videos by Managing Partner Benson Varghese and other experienced criminal defense attorneys at Varghese Summersett. We address a number of important issues that may come into play when a detective wants a statement from you, including: