Are The Police Asking You Questions?
The legal community in Colorado has recently observed a trend of police officers contacting people by telephone to question them, knocking and asking to speak with people and/or search their homes, and searching homes and waiting a significant period of time before contacting the resident again. These types of police actions occur in situations involving a wide variety of suspected law violations. They are very common in cases involving drug possession and distribution.
If you are being questioned by the police, that means the police believe that you have information that they cannot get except by questioning you. If you are under investigation, you have absolutely no obligation to provide information to the police. In fact, you have a constitutionally protected right not to do so. Under certain circumstances, it is possible to negotiate an arrangement in which you provide information in exchange for immunity, reduced charges or other consideration. It is crucial to understand your various rights and options before making a decision about whether or not to speak with the police.
The police call people on the telephone and ask them questions because this type of contact seems casual and nonthreatening. The police frequently tell their target that they are “trying to clear things up,” or that they “want your side of the story.” Telephone contact is a strategic law enforcement choice. The police often choose telephone contact rather than in-person contact because it reduces their target’s future ability to raise legal issues and defenses.
It can be hard to say “no” to such seemingly innocuous questioning. People are often concerned that seeming uncooperative will draw additional attention to them. But you have absolutely no obligation to speak with a police officer who calls you, and speaking with them without the advice and assistance of a lawyer will almost certainly not help you.
You are facing an information asymmetry that cannot be sweet-talked or finessed away. You can and should contact a lawyer to get additional information about your options. If the police are asking you questions, the fact of the matter is that you are likely under investigation. If that is the case, answering their questions will provide them with information that will be used against you.
You should politely decline to speak with them, and should immediately contact a lawyer to help you respond to the police. If you have already answered some questions and are being recontacted, you should politely decline to speak with the police further and should contact a lawyer to help you decide how to proceed.
Knocking And Talking
Police officers also frequently seek information by knocking on the door of a suspect or witness and initiating an informal, pleasant conversation. Officers sometimes call this type of contact a “knock and talk.” As with telephone contact, this type of contact allows police officers to gain potentially incriminating information and minimizes the ability of the person they are questioning to raise legal issues regarding the questioning. This kind of contact exploits the social pressure that most people feel to be polite, answer the door, and answer police questioning.
If you have been contacted by the police in this way, you are likely under investigation for a crime, or you may be considered a witness. You need to contact a lawyer immediately so that you can understand your options and decide what to do next.
Searching And Waiting
In drug distribution investigations in particular, the police may execute a search warrant on a person’s home and then wait for a lengthy period of time (months in some cases) before contacting the person or taking any further action. This can lead to a perception that the issue is over and nothing else is going to happen. That is almost never true.
If your home has been searched by the police pursuant to a search warrant, you need to contact an attorney immediately. The delay between the search of your home and further law enforcement action may be because of grand jury proceedings, and you may be facing a grand jury indictment. If your home has been searched pursuant to a warrant, you need to retain a lawyer right away.
Do Not Wait To See What Will Happen. Call Our Attorneys Today.
The police are very good at investigating suspected crimes. They use many methods to gain information that helps their investigation. Those methods include casual, nonthreatening questioning. There are often lengthy delays between questioning or searching, and criminal charges. The fact that questioning feels casual and polite, or the fact that a delay occurs after a search, does not mean that the matter is disappearing.
Having a lawyer in your corner before charges are filed can have an enormous impact.
If law enforcement has searched your home or car or has asked you questions in any way, call 303-593-1874 or contact our Boulder law firm online, right away. Time is of the essence and it is absolutely essential to have a lawyer’s help. You cannot talk the police out of charging you, and wishing an investigation would cease will not make it go away.