Criminology and police psychology are mandatory courses for most Outagamie County detectives. Appleton criminal investigators count on suspects believing that hiring an attorney or refusing to speak with police officers will indicate their guilt but that openly speaking with officers will ease suspicion. Truthfully, if you’ve been asked to “come down to the station” or otherwise submit to police questioning, the police already suspect you of a crime. Nothing you say or do will prove your innocence at this stage of the investigation, but speaking with police officers can certainly prove your guilt. For this reason, you should always have a lawyer present when you’re questioned by the police.

Should You Talk to the Police without a Lawyer Present?

As soon as local investigators approach you, it’s time to call an Appleton criminal defense lawyer at Hogan Eickhoff. Even non-suspects inadvertently admit to crimes they’re not under investigation for in an attempt to be helpful or prove their innocence. For example, an innocent suspect may submit proof he was bow hunting deer in July when his neighbor was assaulted only to have just confessed to bow hunting out of season. Brown, Outagamie, and Winnebago County police officers are looking for guilt, not innocence. Don’t speak with police without contacting an experienced Appleton, Green Bay, and Oshkosh defense lawyer at Hogan Eickhoff at (920) 450-9800 or online for your free criminal defense consultation.

Understanding Your Constitutional Right Not to Speak with Police Officers without a Lawyer

Most Wisconsin residents are taught to trust and aid police officers from a young age. Speaking with police officers as a witness, however, is different than speaking with them as a suspect. Investigators don’t want suspects to believe they’re under investigation, so they often approach suspects under the guise of a general “fact-finding” inquiry. Wisconsin investigators don’t always need to give suspects their Miranda Warnings before asking questions. These warnings are only triggered if you’re in police custody. and they summarize the following constitutional rights while warning suspects that anything they say can and will be used against them:

  • The “right to remain silent” – Derived from the Fifth Amendment’s protection against “self-incrimination,” which means a suspect never has to provide police with potentially condemning testimony
  • The right to consult with a criminal defense lawyer – Derived from your general freedom to retain an attorney, the Sixth Amendment’s right to counsel after charges are filed, and the Fifth Amendment’s protection against self-incrimination
  • The right to have a criminal defense attorney present during police questioning – Derived from either the Fifth Amendment’s right to be protected from giving incriminating testimony or the Sixth Amendment’s right to have an attorney for your defense.
  • The right to have a defense attorney provided for free if you cannot afford one – Derived from the Sixth Amendment’s right to counsel.

These rights exist regardless of whether you’re reminded of them before a police interrogation. However, Appleton residents read their Miranda Rights are likely prime suspects in a police investigation. You must invoke these rights unequivocally and clearly – saying “I think I should get an attorney” or “maybe I should speak with a lawyer” is not enough. You must tell police officers that “you do not want to speak with them” and that “you want an attorney.”

Common Tactics Police Use to Trick Suspects

Police officers are trained in various methods of conducting interrogations. The Reid Technique is a common way of questioning whereby officers put suspects at ease, pretend they understand the suspect’s motivation for the crime, and eventually try to coerce a confession. Further, police officers may manipulate and even lie to suspects about the presence of evidence and the nature of the questioning. Officers may use a line such as “what if I told you I had a video of you robbing the convince store?” to convince you that confessing will result in the judge “going easy” on you.

Police officers do not have the authority to make legal promises or sway a judge’s sentencing decision. Investigators may also use testimony to charge you with crimes related to the central crime under investigation. Did you know it’s illegal to help a suspect trying to avoid arrest after he or she committed a serious crime in Wisconsin? This makes you an accessory to the crime such that admitting the suspect was hiding at your house may be criminal. Lastly, investigators are actually permitted to approach suspects again a few hours after they invoked their right to silence. They may ask if you want to speak with them now and request you sign a waiver of your rights. Keep invoking your rights and remember that even if you sign a waiver, you can withdraw your consent and demand an attorney at any time during police questioning.

Consulting with an Appleton Criminal Defense Lawyer Before Police Questioning Can Help

Experienced Wisconsin criminal defense lawyers are familiar with and trained to recognize common police interview tactics. Defense attorneys will often suggest you do not speak with the police unless doing so will absolve you of a crime or you’re offered immunity in exchange for testimony. If you do wish to speak with investigators, having a defense attorney present can protect you from manipulation, incrimination, and constitutional violations.

A criminal defense lawyer can object to and direct you not to answer certain questions, or you can consult with your lawyer before providing the police with an answer. You’re also permitted to stop speaking with the police at any time. Investigators often rely on corroborating testimony before recommending that prosecutors file charges, and consulting with a top-rated Outagamie County criminal defense lawyer may deny them this missing evidence.

Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with a Criminal Defense Attorney in Appleton

Even if you were tricked into speaking with Wisconsin police officers, an experienced criminal defense lawyer may move to have any incriminating testimony removed from consideration due to constitutional violations. Don’t delay or push aside the rights generations have fought for. Contact an experienced Appleton, Green Bay, and Oshkosh criminal defense lawyer at Hogan Eickhoff at (920) 450-9800 or online for your free criminal defense consultation.