Talk to Detective about my Domestic Violence Case?
No, not without your lawyer. Two situations arise where you are confronted with the question of whether to speak to police. First, when police initially respond to a domestic violence call. Read about what to do when police arrive. Second, is after police have responded to a call, and a detective has been assigned to investigate a case.
This happens often when police do not make an arrest at the time they respond to a call. So, a detective will often call you attempting to get you to make a statement. Assume the phone call is recorded. It is legal for the detective to record the phone call without letting you know. During this call the detective may try to get you to engage in conversation about the alleged domestic violence charge. Do not speak about the facts of the case. Instead, get a call back number for the detective, and give that information to your domestic violence defense lawyer.
Detectives often ask for you to meet, usually at the police station, but sometimes at your home or somewhere else. Meeting a detective without your lawyer is walking into disaster. First, if you voluntarily meet to speak with a detective then the police do not have to “read you your rights” before taking your statement. Police like this situation, because when people hear their rights read it puts them on guard. So, detectives try to create a situation in which you will leave your guard down.
Also, if you voluntarily meet with a detective to talk about your domestic violence charge you are not “under arrest.” So, other rights (not just Miranda Rights) do not apply. Specifically, in Texas the law (Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 38.22) requires a “custodial interrogation” must be recorded if it will be used in court. A “voluntary meeting” with a detective is not a custodial interrogation, so it is likely the only record of your conversation will be the detective’s police report…that the detective writes. You can understand how a detective’s memory and writing of your statements might be a bit different than the way you intended to sound.
But I’m not going to say anything that will hurt my case…
Yes you will. This is not meant to be insulting, but detectives are trained to get people to say things to build a criminal case. The FBI does research and training on techniques for investigators to get incriminating information from people. It is a subtle and manipulative game the detectives are playing. Do not be lulled into hurting your chances of getting your domestic violence charge dropped.
Aside from how well a detective may work to get information from you, you also need to be concerned about your statements being taken out of context or twisted around. As mentioned before, police are not required to record the conversation. So, you may say, “Yea, we were arguing about her ex-boyfriend, but I never hit her.” That is likely to end up in a detectives report as, “Suspect confirmed he was jealous and angry about victims former boyfriend.” See, nothing about “I never hit her.” If you have found this article before talking to a detective, please, speak with your domestic violence defense attorney before even thinking about speaking with police.