Your right to remain silent is one of the most important protections that the U.S. Constitution gives you if you are arrested. The Fifth Amendment gives you the right to refuse to answer the questions of any law enforcement agent, and it is always the best course of action to politely refuse to do so outside the presence of your attorney.
However, what if it isn’t a police officer that wants to talk to you, but a prosecutor instead? Is it a good idea to cooperate and answer his or her questions? The answer is no.
Nothing to Gain, Everything to Lose
In California, the role of the district attorney (or, in some cities, the city attorney) is to review the information received from law enforcement investigations to determine whether a person should be charged with a crime. If he or she believes the investigation shows you committed a crime, the district attorney will file a criminal complaint and prosecute the case against you as the representative of the People of the State of California. So, the question is: What do you have to gain by talking to the person who is trying to decide whether you should face criminal charges?
The answer to that is generally nothing at all. The truth is that every criminal case has gaps that the prosecutor needs to overcome. The police may have violated your constitutional rights, or the evidence against you is weak and unlikely to convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty. Suddenly, the prosecutor contacts you and offers you a deal that seems fair.
Remember, prosecutors are not there to help you, and the criminal justice system usually does not reward you with less of a sentence based on how cooperative you are. The prosecutor wants you to make a mistake and reveal information that he or she does not yet have, or agree to a plea bargain without realizing how small the chances of a conviction are if you were to fight the charges.
The State Bar’s ethics rules prohibit a prosecutor from speaking directly to a defendant if he or she knows that an attorney represents the defendant. Hiring a criminal defense attorney immediately places a barrier between the prosecutor and you, which can prevent you from making any mistakes that could harm your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome in your case.
Contact the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich As Soon As Possible
The early stages of a criminal case are often the most critical. While you are dealing with the shock of being arrested and accused of a crime, the prosecutor may attempt to exploit you at your weakest moment. That is why hiring an experienced attorney as soon as you possibly can is vital.
At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled criminal defense attorneys have over 35 years of experience successfully defending people accused of all types of crimes. Our attorneys will do everything in their power to protect your rights and help you obtain the best possible result in your case.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, San Diego, West Covina, Torrance and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney available to help you no matter where you work or live.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.