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I hear this several times a week from persons calling me for a consultation – The police left word or a card on my doorstep. They were looking for me to “speak to me” about their investigation and just wanted to clear something up … so I called them.
Here is the truth – when the Colorado police they contact you – they are ready to arrest you.
In almost every case – by the time law enforcement makes it known to you that they want to “speak” with you, their investigation is almost complete – and the decision to arrest you has already been made.
If law enforcement’s decision to arrest you has been made, why not just make the arrest. Here is the reason – the last item to be performed in almost every police investigation – is the attempt to obtain a confession or incrimination statements from the suspect. Once again – the last item to be performed in almost every police investigation – is the attempt to obtain a confession or incrimination statements from the suspect.
I read recently in an online blog on religion that there are three levels of gullibility… this is relevant to this discussion…
“There are three degrees of gullibility. First degree gullibility is when you believe something because you don’t know any better, like a very young child believing in Santa. Second degree gullibility is when you become aware of conflicts and inconsistencies in what you believe, but you do not admit that they are genuine conflicts and inconsistencies. And third degree gullibility is when you admit that there are conflicts and inconsistencies in what you believe, and yet you sincerely argue that people ought to believe it anyway.”
If you understand that the police are not “our friends” when they are conducting an investigation – if you understand that it is human nature to start with a theory and to do everything you can to find evidence to support that theory and to ignore or distinguish every piece of evidence that contradicts it – then accepting that the decision to arrest you has already been made… becomes simpler.. and more logical.
The fear of being arrested and incarcerated is a visceral – deeply felt emotion, Because of that fear – common sense disappears and individuals convince themselves that if only they can sit down and explain their side of what happened – this will all go away.
Law enforcement – and I know this from personal experience as a career DA – prosecutor – exploit this weakness…. it is part of the process to convict at all costs.
We just want to “straighten this out”, “let’s get it out in the open“, “we just want your side of the story?” This is very familiar to the seasoned criminal defense lawyer . Cooperate to the police detective – means “just confess.”
The police – contrary to popular belief – do NOT need to Mirandize you to take your statement – Miranda only kicks in IF they arrest you..and then interrogate – that is – question you in custody.
The police won’t arrest you until they have everything they can get from you for potential se in a trial intended to convict you. “Cooperate” is one of more than a dozen other meaningless words the police use when contacting people they already intend to arrest.
They won’t say, “Please have your drug and alcohol using son call us so that we can persuade him to admit to his role in these burglaries in your neighborhood. Instead they will say, “We would like to straighten out a little problem involving your son and a misunderstanding.”
What I have seen – in addition to pure gullibility – is denial. The need to believe that you can beat this charge – to persuade the police – particularly in a Colorado Domestic Violence, Drug Charge or Sex Crimes case – that you are innocent you couldn’t possibly be charged or arrested in this matter – is so great -that many will STILL choose to give the police “your statement.”
As a former prosecutor – I and my colleagues – would count on this – we expected it… and we would regulalrly use these uncounseled “admissions” and confessions at trial. Now I work for the defense – and I am telling you – consult a seasoned criminal defense lawyer first- BEFORE YOU SPEAK TO THE POLICE – you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
This does not mean the other extreme – that you should flee the investigation just because the police or FBI should leave messages for you to contact them. Running from an investigation is also never an answer and can only exacerbate – the case and make things worse.
Your lawyer – after hearing the facts – may actually CHOOSE to make a statement right there with you. In this context – it is a counseled statement – controlled by the lawyer and intended to get you out of the difficulty. I have successfully done this many times – and it has worked to terminate a case before charges have been filed and an arrest made.
If you are being sought by the police in Colorado – or outside of Colorado on a Colorado case – contact our criminal defense law firm immediately, so that we can act as an intermediary between you and the police.
As a Colorado criminal defense lawyer – I will contact the law enforcement agency involved and determine whether or not you are the target of a criminal investigation or whether the police need you as a witness and you have no exposure in the case. As a criminal defense lawyer – I may be able to negotiate and agreement for your testimony to be used in lieu of prosecution – as you may be more valuable as a witness to the DA – than as a co-defendant.
The decision to prosecute or immunize a witness is complex. Without protections in place – what may look to you as a witness statement – easily can become – at trial – the key piece of evidence against you .. This is an area fraught with danger and traps for the unwary.
Once again – so we are clear – the law allows the police investigator to intentionally or even negligently deceive you into making a statement against your best interests.
Nothing they say to you in an investigation – is to be trusted. Nothing. Lies and deception are consdered good police work. The methods employed by police when attempting to get suspects to make statements or otherwise incriminate themselves have been around for a very long time. New techniques taught to and employed by the police today – are even more persuasive than you might ever believe – this is what they do..
You are a father or mother of a teenage son. The police suspect that your son was a part of a group of teenagers who burglarized a local school. They have no idea who was involved – but they have narrowed it down to a few suspects .. including your son. Your son is contacted by the police. He tells them – before consulting with a lawyer – that he “was there” but he “did not break anything or take anything from the school…” his friends did.
Prior to that statement ..the police had no way of tying your son to the burglary – but by making the statement that he was there – he has made himself an accomplice at a minimum – to the break in – he is – therefore guilty under theory of responsibility called complicity liability – Complcity – also known as aiding and abetting -also probably makes him responsible for the acts of the others with him.. The police have now taken a mere suspicion and made it a “case” against your son.
Before they contact you – the police probably know far more than you think they do. They do NOT want you to contact a lawyer.
The police also rely on the fear that many have that – by contacting a lawyer – it makes them “look” and therefore the police will definitely think you ARE guilty… So you don’t.
Let me tell you this – I have known those in law enforcement for over 30 years – whenever a cop is targeted by an accusation of any kind – he or she immediately contacts their “representative.” Guess who that always is…. right – a lawyer. The police – above all others – know the need for a good lawyer .. They also know that they can play on your fears and intimidate you into believing you do not need one.. Believe it..
You are far less likely to be harmed by the assumption that the police want to arrest you because if you accept that assumption then you will immediately contact a criminal defense lawyer who will help you determine whether or not it is true. If it is not true, then great. You overreacted but you protected yourself.
…there are a great many wonderful criminal defense lawyers in Colorado any one of whom would be in a position to help you through the difficult times associated with police contact… make sure that you find someone who actually practices criminal defense. Criminal defense is a specialty – not just another area of law practice.. Retain the best criminal defense lawyer you can afford.
Please do not hesitate to contact a Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm at the first sign of ANY police contact.
“While I have rewritten and expanded on the original article – creditfor the idea of this topic is attributed to Don A. Murray, Esq. Of Shalley & Murray – New York Criminal Defense Attorneys… please visit his excellent New York City – Queens – Criminal Defense Website…
And please call our law firm if you have questions about…
H. Michael Steinberg has been a Colorado criminal law specialist attorney for 30 years (as of 2012). For the First 13 years of his career, he was an Arapahoe – Douglas County District Attorney Senior prosecutor. In 1999 he formed his own law firm for the defense of Colorado criminal cases.
In addition to handling tens of thousands of cases in the trial courts of Colorado, he has written hundreds of articles regarding the practice of Colorado criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on the Fox News Channel, CNN and Various National and Local Newspapers and Radio Stations. Please call him at your convenience at 720-220-2277
If you have questions about Colorado Police Investigations in the Denver metropolitan area and throughout Colorado, attorney H. Michael Steinberg will be pleased to answer those questions and to provides quality legal representation to those charged in Colorado adult and juvenile criminal matters.
In the Denver metropolitan area and throughout Colorado, attorney H. Michael Steinberg provides quality legal representation to those charged in Colorado adult and juvenile criminal matters.as reagards Colorado Police Investigations.