Should You Talk To Federal Law Enforcement?
If you’re being investigated for federal crimes, federal law enforcement is going to try to interrogate you. It’s imperative to their investigation to be able to extract information from you. Discussing things with them can have several effects on your case, some of which won’t benefit you. There are many things to consider when it comes to talking to federal law enforcement.
Why do they want to talk to you?
Federal law enforcement doesn’t request to speak people who they might want to investigate. If they request an interview with you, then it’s safe to say that you are under investigation. You might not be under indictment, but an incriminating interview could be the ace in the hole the agents need to bring the charges against you. They’re not going to interview you on the off-chance that you’ll expose yourself as being culpable in a federal crime. Their desire to talk to you stems from the evidence they’ve gathered and their confidence in being able to bring charges against you.
Should you talk if you know you’re innocent?
You might think that, if you’re innocent, not talking to federal law enforcement would only hurt you because it would make you seem hostile and untrustworthy. Whether or not you’re innocent doesn’t matter when it comes to talking to federal law enforcement. The moment you agree to answer questions, you set yourself up for all kinds of traps. The federal law enforcement officers will have extensive questions that they’ve meticulously prepared. Even if you’re innocent, they’re designed to gather answers that cast doubts about your innocence.
In an interrogation, you can expect questions that play off of previous responses. They may find you in a contradiction or attempt to spin answers as a contradiction. When you try to clarify things, you can find yourself digging a deeper hole for yourself. This can all be considered admissible evidence in a court of law. The testimony of federal law enforcement could be all that it takes for a jury to convict you.
You have the right to speak or to stay silent when it comes to an investigation. The more you say, the more opportunities they have to use your words against you. Think before you speak and decide if it’s truly worthwhile to do so. Your freedom could depend on whether or not you’re willing to stay silent.
Should you say nothing?
Just because you should be selective with what you say to federal law enforcement doesn’t mean you have to clam up completely. If you don’t feel comfortable with answering a question, don’t answer it. Whether or not you’re telling the truth is beside the point. Your account of events and responses to any inquiries from law enforcement can end up penalizing you. Staying silent isn’t going to bring an investigation to a halt, but it will help to keep you out of further trouble. You have a right to remain silent, and you want to hold onto that as much as you can.
The importance of a lawyer
One of the trickiest things about being interviewed by federal law enforcement is the ambiguity about whether or not you should answer a question. Their interrogative tactics can make a seemingly-innocuous question a path into incrimination. You’re intelligent, but part of their strategy is circumventing that intelligence.
A skilled lawyer should be on-hand for any questioning, whether or not you’ve been placed under arrest. They can advise you on when to speak and when to stay silent. If you’re asked a question, see what your lawyer thinks first. If they interject to say that you won’t be answering that particular question, do not question or contradict them. Their understanding of the law and prosecution is crucial to their being able to help you.
The decision to speak to federal law enforcement or stay silent is ultimately up to you. However, it’s important to understand the risks associated with speaking. By having the best possible understanding of the situation, you can make the right choice when facing a federal investigation.