We get all kinds of calls about criminal matters both when people are charged and prior to being charged. When is the best time get a lawyer? As soon as you think you might be suspected of a crime not just after you charged. A question that we often get is “I am wanted for questioning, what should I do?” In this blog, we plan to answer this question and get into some detail about pre-charge criminal process. Like all our blogs, this is intended for general educational purposes only and not as substitute for the advice and counsel of a criminal defense attorney.
I am wanted for questioning
When law enforcement is investigating an alleged crime, they try to speak to as many people as possible. Some of these people are witnesses to the crime, some of these people are victims of the crime and some of these people are suspects of the crime. Which one are you? If there is any question whatsoever ever in your mind, you might be the suspect. In that case, you are mostly likely better off not talking to law enforcement.
I am wanted for questioning, and they said I have a certain amount of time to turn myself in
We often hear: “I am wanted for questioning, and I have 24 hours to turn myself in or I am wanted for questioning and I have 48 hours to turn myself in.” What happens if you do not turn yourself in? That is what people often do not analyze or think about it.
If there is a warrant for your arrest, then you have already been charged with a crime. In that case, turn yourself in. What we are talking here is if you are not yet charged with a crime.
Try to understand this: if you are not charged with a crime, and you have X amount of time to come in and speak to the officer, what do you possibly have to gain? The answer is nothing. If you are not charged with a crime now, the best you can hope for after speaking to the police is that you are not charged with a crime. You already have that.
Now, what do you have to lose if you turn yourself in? Quite a bit. You can walk into the police station and hand the police exactly what they need to charge you. You can also hand them exactly the evidence they need for a prosecutor to convict you at trial. All the statements you make can and will be used against you. So why go?