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Talking to the police

When should I speak to a lawyer?

It's best to hire a lawyer as soon as you think that the police suspect you of a crime and want to question you.

If you can't hire your own lawyer right away, you should still speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. Do this before you make any sort of statementA statement is anything that you tell the police or someone in authority. You can give a statement by saying it out loud or by putting it in writing. Even if you don't sign anything or the police don't write down or videotape what you said, what you say is still a statement.X to the police. This is true even if you don't think that you've committed a crime.

The police don't have to tell you the truth. They can even:

This is all part of what they might do to investigate a crime.

What you tell the police can:

A lawyer will explain all of this to you.

Even if you did do what the police accuse you of doing, a lawyer might be able to show that it wasn't a crime. Or, they might be able to get you a less serious charge or a lighter sentenceA sentence is the punishment that the court gives you if you're found guilty.X .

By talking to the police too soon, you'll probably make it harder for your lawyer to help you.

If you do decide to talk to the police, have your lawyer with you. Your lawyer can help you avoid saying something that might hurt you later in court.

(Reviewed August 2015)