Posted on 8/4/16

This past January, Dallas Police Chief David Brown appeared in a youtube clip to personally thank the people of Dallas for their contribution to the plummeting crime rate. Chief Brown noted that Dallas saw a 53% reduction over a 12-year period from 2004-2016. While these numbers are encouraging, they do not tell the whole story.

Crime statistics include violent crimes and property crimes. On average, there are five times as many property crimes as there are violent crimes. In Dallas, statistics show that property crime is down significantly, hence the decreased crime rate. However, statistics also show that violent crime is up significantly in the Dallas area. In fact, violent crimes rose 8.5% from 2014 to 2015, while property crimes are down approximately 14% during the same period.

A likely result of increasing violent crime with decreasing property crime is that there will be increased police focus on violent crime. Unlike property crime that does not make headlines, violent crime makes headlines. This will likely compel the police to be more zealous when trying to solve reported crime.

What to Do

If you are a suspect or target of an investigation, decline a police interview because an interview has little or no chance of helping you. “We just want to hear your side of the story” usually means that “our job and the prosecutor’s job is easier if we have a confession.” Always request to speak with an attorney. If the police really wanted to help they would have no objection to an attorney being present. Attorneys routinely negotiate plea bargains or partake in the interview process to establish that the subject is a witness rather than a participant in the crime being investigated.

An offer of a lie detector or voice stress test is another police tactic intended to obtain a confession. The tests are not reliable and will not be admissible in court without a written agreement in advance. However, from the police’s point of view, it is a great way to separate you from your attorney during interrogation. Lie detectors may frighten you into confessing or compel you to make incriminating statements. If you feel compelled to cooperate or want to tell your story, your attorney should always be present.

The following phrases should not be said:

  • “I think I should talk to an attorney.”
  • “Do you think I need counsel?”
  • “I’ll talk when my attorney gets here.”

These statements have all been held insufficient to prevent further interrogation. Simply demand your rights and refuse to speak until you consult with counsel.

If You Speak with the Police

Never say anything that is not recorded or written by you. A statement is admissible even if you refused to sign it or to sign the rights waiver, and even if it is oral and unrecorded. Defendants usually lose when it is their word vs. the police, so making unrecorded statements simply gives the police a chance to distort what you say.

Local police are focused on violent crime. If you are the subject or target of an investigation, do not tell the police your “side of the story.” Instead, you need to contact an attorney who will protect your rights. Contact the law firm of Christopher Abel.

Flower Mound Office

Phone: 972.584.7837

Denton Office