Burlington County, NJ Law Blog

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Dangers of Speaking to the Police Without Your Lawyer

Why is it so important for me to request a lawyer before making statements to the police?

Tiger Woods’ high-profile arrest has captured the attention of the nation, but his decision to make a statement to the police and the public concerning his arrest could lead to significant legal consequences.  Woods was recently pulled over at 2 a.m. in Jupiter, Florida after he pulled to the side of the road with the engine running and the turn signal blinking.  He had two flat tires and his vehicle displayed evidence of a recent car accident. Woods failed a sobriety test, but the Breathalyzer registered 0.0 for alcohol.  

After his arrest, Woods released a statement to the public.  He claimed that alcohol was not involved in the incident; rather, he had a reaction to prescription medication he had ingested.  Woods also made statements to police in which he admitted to taking several prescriptions, including Vicodin.

Statements Can Limit Your Defense

Woods’ case illustrates one of the problems associated with making statements to the police without your lawyer present to protect your legal interests.  While Woods may have felt honesty was the best policy or thought his public image would be better served by admitting to taking prescription drugs than drinking, he has now severely limited his defense.  Woods cannot now go back and claim he was just tired or otherwise experiencing issues that do not amount to a DUI.  His own admission as to taking the prescriptions and evidence to support ingesting the drugs will likely provide sufficient evidence to support a DUI conviction.

Being arrested and subjected to questioning can be extremely intimidating.  It may seem easy to just answer the officer’s questions so that the interrogations stop, but without a lawyer present you could make statements that will seriously impact your defense in the long run.  Request the right to call your criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible after your arrest so as to protect your legal rights and minimize your chances of conviction.

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