A Conversation with a Top St. Louis Criminal Defense Lawyer
The following is a conversation with a top St. Louis criminal defense lawyer, Kevin Roach, to discuss how you will know if you're under investigation for committing a crime.
Interviewer: How does someone know that they are under investigation, have been charged or will be charged for a crime? How do they know about that?
Kevin Roach: Typically if someone is under investigation they will normally get a call from a detective. A lot of times you will get a call or sometimes they may find out during a routine traffic stop.
In St. Louis, A Wanted For Questioning Is Issued Which Is Similar To a Warrant
They may be advised that they have a wanted out for them. Generally a wanted is very similar to a warrant. Wanted, in St. Louis they put out Wanted for Questioning. What that means is they want to talk to you. Obviously, if they want to talk to you are probably the target of their investigation. Generally, you are contacted by phone or somehow law enforcement advises that they want to talk to you about the charges. Back to our previous conversation, it is very important that people understand that under almost all circumstances it is not a good idea to make a statement. Generally, when these Wanted for Questionings are out there they are trying to build a case against you. They are trying to place you at a certain place at a certain time. They are trying to get information that they need to make their case, complete their investigation. If you talk to the police officer, give a statement to him or her the likelihood of you being charged increases substantially. I see a lot of times where people make a statement and if they would not have made a statement there would not have been sufficient evidence to charge them. I just can't emphasize that enough. A lot of times if you can catch these cases early enough you can advise people not to talk to the police then you could avoid the charges altogether a lot of times. It is very important.
People Are Generally Prone to Making Statements to the Police Because They Feel They have Nothing To Hide
Interviewer: What if they are trying to contact you via phone or telling you that you need to come in and answer some questions?
Kevin Roach: The natural reaction people have is to, especially if they didn't do anything wrong or they don't think they did anything wrong, is to make a statement. People want to tell their side of the story and they want to clear their name. The fact of the matter is the police officer might not even be truthful. They may be investigating you for something you are just totally not aware of. They may trick you into thinking it is about something else. They don't have any obligation to be truthful to you. They can be as tricky as they want to be. They are just doing their job, that is what they are paid to do. Generally, I make very few exceptions and advise people to make a statement. Generally, if I do advise them to make a statement I want to be there with them. I want to make sure the police officer doesn't twist things around and put words in their mouth. That is a very important. Someone's freedom is at stake, they don't want to jeopardize that by making a statement that is going to send them to jail. That is just not a smart move.
Police Officers are obligated to Do Their Job and They Do Not Have to Be Truthful
Interviewer: As a top St. Louis criminal defense lawyer, you're probably familiar with what police officers can and cannot do. What are the basic rules and regulations for police officers when they come for search and seizure and/or questioning? Are they allowed to lie to someone?
Kevin Roach: Your first question, do they have to be truthful and they don't have to disclose information. When I talk to a police officer I don't tell them everything that is going on with the case. They are not going to tell me what they have against my client. What evidence they have to charge my client either. He is doing his job, so no they don't have any obligation to be truthful to someone. They have an obligation to do their job, so, no they do not have to be truthful.
First Time Offenders
Interviewer: As a top St. Louis criminal defense attorney, you've worked with people who do not have past criminal charges. What about for first-time offenders? Does the court show any sort of leniency maybe? Does it matter if a person has a family, has ever been in trouble before, does that ever count?
Kevin Roach: Yes, first-time offenders are definitely treated with more leniency than people that have a prior criminal arrests or convictions. It is one of the first things that a prosecutor looks at when they are sizing up a case on what punishment to give somebody or whether they want to send someone to prison or whether they want to let them off on probation or possibly amend the charges down. They look at their past record. Definitely, if it is an isolated incident and you've never been arrested before in your life you are going to have a lot better chance of getting your charges amended or the charges suspended and not getting a conviction on your record.
Kevin J. Roach is a top St. Louis criminal defense attorney who has defended thousands of DWI and DUI cases in the St. Louis Metro area. Call us today at (636) 519-0085 or (866) 519-0085 for your Free Consultation!