Should I Talk to the Police or Prosecutor after I am Arrested in New York or New Jersey?

A african american woman speaking to a police officer

Being arrested and charged with a criminal offense in New York or New Jersey is typically an overwhelming and frightening experience. Unfortunately, the stress of suddenly being placed under arrest and charged with a crime frequently causes people to panic, not think straight, and make serious mistakes. Talking to the police or prosecutor is at the top of the list of common mistakes a person makes after getting arrested.

Simply put --- never talk to the police or prosecutor without consulting with an attorney first.

When a law enforcement officer comes into contact with a suspect, the  police officer's job is to determine if the suspect has committed a crime. In order to make that determination, the officer typically tries to gather as much information as possible about the alleged crime. Talking to the suspect is one way of gathering information. Make no mistake – a law enforcement officer's job is to get you to incriminate yourself. Anything you say can, and will, be used against you. Officers may tell you that they want to help you but the truth is that a police officer's job is not to help you, but to solve crimes. Police officers, in fact, are allowed to lie to you when trying to get information from you. They may even falsely promise you a deal or to drop or reduce the charges if you help them. DO NOT fall for this. It is a law enforcement questioning tactic and strategy. Consequently, suspects often think they can "clear things up", or talk their way out of being arrested. In reality, suspects almost always achieve the opposite – they talk themselves into getting arrested. In the United States, a defendant in a criminal prosecution has a right to counsel. That right, however, only helps you when you actually exert your right.

The same basic analysis applies to speaking to the prosecutor after being arrested and charged with a criminal offense in New York or New Jersey. It is possible that the prosecutor will attempt to speak to you shortly after your arrest and/or at your initial hearing. If you are charged with a misdemeanor, the prosecutor may offer you a plea bargain to "resolve the matter quickly". If you are charged with a more serious crime the prosecutor might try and get information from you after your arrest. Either way, remember that the prosecutor works for the State of New York or the State of New Jersey and his/her job is to convict you of the crime with which you are charged. The prosecutor is not there to help you and is not on your side, regardless of anything he/she tells you.

You have rights and should use them. You are entitled to have an attorney present and represent you throughout the proceedings to even the playing field; however, you must exercise your right to counsel by telling the prosecutor or police officer that you do not want to answer any questions until you have an attorney with you. If you do not ask, they will not get one and they will keep questioning you until they get something.

Please check our representative case page and testimonials & referrals page to see specific information regarding past cases and what our clients and other attorneys have to say about our legal services. Please feel free to contact The Law Offices of Adam Thompson, P.C. for more information about our experience in any legal area anytime at 855-497-2326.