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8 Things Not to Say in a Police Interview

What not to say in a police interview | Justice Family Lawyers

During an interview with police officers, being polite, calm, and aware of your rights is important.  Always remember that anything you say can be used against you. 

Here are some things you should remember as you answer the question: What not to say in a police interview?

Don’ts

The outcome of police interview can significantly impact one’s involvement in a case. Understanding what not to say is equally important as knowing what to convey.

This guide sheds light on key considerations and offers insights into how to navigate a police interview effectively, ensuring that your rights are protected and your responses align with your best interests.

  • Volunteering unnecessary information. Stick to answering the questions asked and don’t give any extra information that could accidentally get you in trouble or cause misunderstandings.
  • Speculating or guessing. If you don’t know the answer to a question or can’t remember specific facts, it’s better to say “I don’t know” or “I don’t recall” than to guess or speculate.
  • Lying or exaggerating. If you lie to law enforcement during an interview, you could get in further trouble. Always say what’s true, and don’t beat around the bush.
  • Making self-incriminating statements. You should never forget that anything you say can be used against you in court. Don’t say you’re guilty, make statements, or give information that could be used against you.
  • Discussing the case with other witnesses or suspects. Don’t discuss your case with other people who might be involved, as law enforcement might think that you are working together or trying to influence witnesses.
  • Arguing or being confrontational. Keep your cool and show respect during the interview. Fighting or getting angry could make things worse and hurt your cause.
  • Making jokes or sarcastic comments. A police interview is serious, and making fun of it could be seen as rude or a sign that you don’t care about the investigation.
  • Interrupting the officer. Wait until the office is done asking the question before you respond. Interrupting could be seen as rude or as not wanting to work together.

Also read: How Long Does an Assault Investigation Take

DOs

Approaching a police interview thoughtfully and articulately can greatly influence the course of an investigation.

This guide provides valuable insights into how to communicate effectively during a police interview, ensuring that you provide accurate and relevant information while safeguarding your legal position.

  • Stay calm: Stay calm and collected during the whole interview. This will help you clear up your thoughts and better answer questions.
  • Be respectful: Respect and be polite to the police officer. This can make people more willing to work together during the interview.
  • Listen carefully: Listen carefully to the questions and make sure you fully understand them before you answer.
  • Request legal representation: If you are uncertain about your rights or how to answer specific questions, request a lawyer’s presence during the interview.
  • Know your rights: Know that you have the right to remain silent and the right to a lawyer. You are not required to answer any questions that could be used against you.
  • Be concise: Stay short, clear, and concise in your answers. Don’t give extra details that could make the investigation harder.
  • Take your time: Think carefully before answering questions. If you need a moment to collect your thoughts, ask the officer for a moment to consider your response.

Police Interview Purpose

During an investigation, the goal of a police interview is to get information and proof about an incident.  

This helps the police figure out what happened and the facts of the case. 

Police interviews can be with victims, witnesses, or suspects. 

They can be used to find out the order of events, collect verbal and nonverbal evidence, find potential suspects and their motives, figure out how trustworthy the people involved are, get confessions or admissions, rule out or confirm suspicions, get more leads, and build trust with the people involved. 

The main point of a police interview is to help with the investigation so that the case can be closed and justice achieved. 

Also read: Can I Refuse to Give a Police Statement?

Police Interview Process

Now that you know what not to say in a police interview, it’s important that you understand what will happen. During an interview with the police in Australia, several steps and rules are followed to ensure that accurate and reliable information is gathered.

Here’s a general rundown of what happens during an interview with the cops in Australia:

  1. Preparation: Before the interview, the police officer or investigator will look over the case file, gather necessary information, and get an understanding of what happened. They might also make a list of questions or topics they want to talk about during the interview.
  2. Introduction: At the beginning of the interview, the officer will introduce themselves, explain the purpose of the interview, and inform the interviewee about their rights, if applicable. For suspects, this includes the right to remain silent and the right to legal representation.
  3. Building rapport: The interviewer will make small talk or ask general questions to help the person feel comfortable and build a relationship. This can help create a comfortable environment for the interviewee to share information more openly.
  4. Information gathering: The main part of the interview includes asking open-ended, non-leading questions to gather detailed information about the incident. The interviewer will try to get the person to give a complete account of what happened, focusing on facts, dates, and other important information.
  5. Clarification and probing: The reporter may ask the person more questions or ask them to explain certain parts of their story. They may also ask for more information or ask the person interviewed to clarify specific points.
  6. Confrontation and challenge: In cases where inconsistencies or contradictions arise in the interviewee’s account, the interviewer may confront or challenge the individual to explain these discrepancies. This step is particularly relevant when interviewing suspects.
  7. Closing the interview: At the end, the interviewer will summarise the most important points and give the person being interviewed a chance to add, explain, or change anything they have said. They will also explain the next steps in the case and, if needed, talk to the interviewee about having a further discussion. 
  8. Documentation: After the interview, the officer will make a formal statement, or create an audio or video recording of the information they obtained during the interview. This will be used in the next steps of the investigation or court.

Police Interview Advantages

  1. Clarify misunderstandings: Participating in a police interview can provide an opportunity to clarify misunderstandings or clear up false accusations, which may lead to the police deciding not to pursue charges against you.
  2. Provide helpful information: If you have relevant information that could help with the investigation, sharing it during an interview may aid in solving the case more quickly.
  3. Show cooperation: By taking part in the interview, you may demonstrate your willingness to cooperate with the police, which can be perceived positively by law enforcement and potentially the court if the case proceeds.
  4. Opportunity to share your side of the story: An interview allows you to share your perspective and provide an account of events that may be crucial to the investigation.

Police Interview Disadvantages

  1. Risk of self-incrimination: Without proper legal advice, you may unintentionally make statements or provide information that could be used against you in court.
  2. Misinterpretation or miscommunication: It is important that you communicate clearly so that you are not misunderstood as this could lead to further complications in the case.
  3. Inadvertently providing inaccurate information: If you are nervous or unsure about specific details, you may inadvertently provide false information that could harm your case or the investigation.
  4. Stress and pressure: Police interviews can be intimidating and stressful, affecting your ability to think clearly and respond appropriately.

Conclusion

Question: What not to say in a police interview?

Answer: During a police interview, you must remain polite, calm, and aware of your rights. Avoid volunteering unnecessary information, speculating, lying, making self-incriminating statements, discussing the case with others, arguing, making jokes, and interrupting the officer. These actions could jeopardize your claim or lead to misunderstandings, negatively impacting the investigation.

Need an Advice Before Attending a Police Interview?

At Justice Family Lawyers, we understand the challenges of attending police interviews. We are committed to providing our clients with the highest quality legal advice and representation.

Our AVO lawyers and practitioners are highly experienced and knowledgeable, and we are committed to helping our clients receive the best possible outcome.

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