Investigation - Indiana Criminal Litigation Process
In many situations, citizens are contacted by investigators for the government before they have had a chance to consult with a lawyer. Sometimes, the police respond quickly to an event and citizens are forced to react. If an individual is the target of an investigation, he or she has the absolute right to be represented by an attorney before he or she makes any statement whatsoever. Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966). However, if an individual does not request a lawyer, the things that he or she says can be used against them in Court. The police will sometimes inform such individuals that he or she should not call a lawyer because a lawyer will "get in the way" or that the individual "just needs to give a quick statement to clear things up" or other similar advisements. The unfortunate reality is that this is not always true. The police are paid to investigate alleged crimes. This includes finding and arresting individuals they feel are responsible.
In their quest to solve crimes, officers are sometimes able to convince people to confess to things that they never did. The Supreme Court of Indiana has ruled that the police are allowed to lie to suspects about evidence that they may or may not have (such as DNA) in their possession in their attempt to coerce them into confessing. Pierce v. State, 761 N.E.2d 821 (Ind. 2002). All too frequently, we are hired on cases where a client has been either tricked or forced into making statements to investigators that cause them to be in a far worse situation than needed. An experienced criminal defense attorney can immediately assist in determining whether additional facts can be developed to corroborate an individual's version of events. Most importantly, an attorney can analyze whether giving such a statement is in the clients best interest whatsoever. If so, because a skilled attorney understands the questions the police will likely be asking, he or she can assist individuals in preparing for the interrogation.
These are not decisions that should be made without the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Simply put - if you are contacted by an investigator for the Government, you cannot be penalized for exercising your right to consult with a lawyer prior to making any statement. This is a right you should exercise every time.