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Having experienced legal counsel on board important at pre-charge stage, too

If you're of a certain age, you can likely conjure up the names of many cop-related television shows where much of the action takes place in a dimly lit room in the rear of the police precinct. It is there that an individual sits, back against the wall, while a cadre of detectives aggressively fish for as much information as they can before a defense attorney enters the room.

Such shows often portray the moments before any criminal charges have been filed in a manner that liberally mixes reality with fiction.

One thing often rings centrally true about such scenes, though, namely this: the depiction of law enforcement officials who are working aggressively to extract as much information as they can in the absence of experienced defense counsel.

Why is that? Why would police investigators prefer speaking with a suspect alone, without a lawyer anywhere in sight?

The answer is rather obvious, of course. A person without legal counsel on hand can make incriminating statements. He or she can be lulled into a false sense of security, maybe believing that there is nothing to fear when formal charges have not been filed. A suspect might take investigators' assertions that everyone is just having an informal discussion that doesn't require input from an attorney at face value.  

They may rely upon the officer's assertion that "we just want to hear your side of the story".

Officers may be very friendly & affable, even offering food and beverages.

We note on a relevant page of our law firm's website just how dangerous a person's misconceptions regarding a seemingly low-key exchange with police authorities can be. We convey that in a very direct shorthand manner by stating that, "It is RARELY to your advantage to admit ANYTHING to law enforcement."

There is a reason for the uppercase emphasis in that foregoing sentence, and it is this: Much of what is said, even during a pre-charge phase of an investigation, can indeed come back to haunt a person who is responding to police questions in the absence of an experienced defense attorney.

Persons speaking with police officers have a right to request that an attorney be present, even if charges or an official police report have not been filed.  They also have the right to refuse to answer questions under many circumstances.  

We invite readers seeking further information on their rights while being questioned -- and the advantages that flow from an attorney being on board at the earliest moment possible -- to visit us online at our Charlotte Pre-Charge Representation page.

As always, we welcome your visit.

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