If you have received a phone call from a Fort Worth police detective (or any other law enforcement officer in Texas) informing you that you are under a police investigation, it is critical that you do not try to navigate this dangerous situation alone. I’m a defense attorney at The Hampton Law Firm. I deal with prospective clients on a daily basis that call me and tell me that they spoke to a detective about an investigation without an attorney present. In many of these situations, the detective takes advantage of the situation and subjects the citizen to interrogation that leads to innocent statements crafted to appear that the citizen is guilty of a crime.
Don’t Fall Into the Detective’s Trap
It is important to understand that police investigations do not take place like we see on TV or in the movies. If a detective has called you and asked you to come in for an interview, you must know your rights and understand the risks associated with a voluntary interview with a criminal investigator. The primary goal of every criminal investigator is to seek a conviction for a crime. Detectives are trained to investigate criminal cases by befriending their suspects to gain important information through interrogations.
Do not be deceived by a criminal investigators claim that they want to be your friend and their promises that they just want to “help you out.” Police detectives initiate criminal investigations for one reason: they plan to close the criminal investigation with a conviction.
If you choose to participate in a voluntary interview with a criminal investigator, you must educate yourself regarding your legal rights and Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination before and during the interview:
- You have a right to terminate your interview at any time – despite what the criminal investigator may tell you when you arrive, you are not required by Texas law to participate in an interview. If you decide to participate, you have the right to terminate the interview at any time and for any reason. If you begin the interview and you begin to feel uncomfortable with the police detective’s tone and accusations, you have the absolute right to stand up and walk out of the interview and decline to participate further.
- You have a right to remain silent during the interview – whether you are under arrest or merely being asked to participate in a voluntary interview as part of a criminal investigation, you have an absolute right to remain silent during any questioning. If you are placed under arrest, the police will be required to read you your Miranda rights (which includes the right to remain silent). If the police fail to provide you your Miranda rights prior to questioning, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the responses to such questioning will be deemed inadmissible in a criminal court. If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of being arrested and asked to answer questions by a detective, resist the temptation to explain your innocence to the detective and protect yourself by invoking your right to remain silent.
- You have a right to have an attorney present during your interview – every citizen facing a criminal investigation has a right to legal representation. A common tactic used by criminal investigators is to attempt to make you feel like a criminal for wanting the assistance of an attorney. If a detective claims you are “lawyering up,” just kindly remind him that you are not a criminal and you do not know your legal rights and will willingly answer all of his questions when your attorney is present at the interview.
For a more thorough explanation of your legal rights and options under Texas law, call criminal lawyer Jeff Hampton at The Hampton Law Firm at 817-877-5200 for a free case evaluation.