Do I have to speak with the police if I’m asked to come to come in for an investigation interview?

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Do I have to speak with the police if I’m asked to come to come in for an investigation interview?

Can I be arrested? Am I being charged with anything at the time of interview? Do I have to go to interview at all? What if I can’t afford a lawyer?

Asked on May 16, 2011 under Criminal Law, Ohio

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Under no circumstances should you speak with the police without an attorney present.  You are under no obligation to go in and answer their questions.  You could easily and unknowingly say something incriminating about yourself or someone else regarding the crime under investigation.  In fact, even if the police come to your home to question you about a pending case, you do not need to speak with them. 

Questioning you without your having as lawyer is to their benefit. They can try and get you to implicate yourself.  No matter how low friendly they may appear ("There is just some minor background information that we need"), or on the other hand, no matter how intimidating they seem ("It would be in your best interests to speak with us") - do not do so without a lawyer.  

At this point you should consult with an attorney since this matter does not appear to be going away.  If money is an issue, check if there is a law school nearby to where you live; they typically run free/low cost clinics that handle these type matters.  You can also contact the local Bar Association in your county; they may have a list of attorneys who will consult with you "pro bono" (for free) or at least for a reduced fee based on your income/circumstances.


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