Should I Talk to the Police After an Arrest in Wisconsin
Should I Talk to the Police After an Arrest in Wisconsin?
People who are arrested often wonder “Should I talk to the police?” On the one hand, talking to the police seems like the best way to tell your side of the story, clear up any misunderstandings, and get out of jail sooner. On the other hand, our Wisconsin criminal defense attorneys would advise you to not speak to the police without an attorney present.
Why Shouldn’t I Talk to the Police?
The reason why defense attorneys advise you not to speak to the police is that people often do more harm than good to their defense when they do so. There are two ways that speaking to the police without an attorney present can hurt you:
- You may incriminate yourself unintentionally, giving law enforcement officers more evidence to charge or convict you.
- You may make a false statement to investigators which will get you in even more trouble and could even lead to false statement charges.
Making False Statements is Illegal in Wisconsin
Wisconsin law makes it a crime to make false statements to police. It is also a crime to interfere with law enforcement when they are acting in an official capacity. Interfering with law enforcement typically occurs in one of two ways:
- Physically resisting and impeding an officer’s actions.
- Making a false statement that will obstruct the officer as they carry out their official duties.
Making a false statement to a police officer is considered a Class A misdemeanor; the most serious non-felony charge in the state. Class A misdemeanors can result in up to nine months in prison and fines of up to $10,000.
If you are charged with making a false statement it will be in addition to any other charges you are facing. Even being accused of making false statements will hurt your image and credibility with the court, making it harder to convince a jury of the truth of your statements. Prosecutors are notorious for drawing attention to anything that might undermine your credibility, such as making false statements.
Criteria for False Statements to be Actionable
False statements must meet certain criteria to be legally actionable.
- They must be relevant to the case. Minor or trivial statements may not lead to charges.
- There must have been an intent to mislead the government by making a false statement. You must have knowingly made the false statement to be charged for it. Simply being mistaken in what you say is not enough to be charged.
You can be charged for making false statements in Wisconsin even if the original charges are dropped or never pursued. Sometimes, trying to cover it up is the worst thing you can do.
You can also face charges at the federal level for making false statements. The actionable criteria are similar, but the punishment is more severe. It is a felony to make false statements at the federal level and can result in up to 5 years in jail.
Hire an Attorney and Follow Their Advice
Don’t ask yourself, “Should I talk to the police?” after an arrest. The best way to help yourself after an arrest is to hire a criminal defense attorney. It is too easy to inadvertently hurt your case, by trying to defend yourself or talk your way out of a situation.
If you have been arrested in Wisconsin and need legal counsel, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Eisenberg Law Offices. We will make sure your side of the story is told while also making sure your rights are protected and you do not harm your own defense.
Arrange a free case consultation by calling 608-256-8356 or emailing email@example.com.