Should I Return a Detective’s Call?

Posted by Corey L. Scott | Jul 22, 2021 | 0 Comments

You get a phone call from a number you do not recognize, and let it go to voicemail. You listen to it, and lo and behold, it is Detective ______­­_­­­____, calling to say that he has a few questions for you and would like to talk. What do you do?

My name is Corey Scott, and I am a criminal defense attorney. In this blog I would like to discuss what you should do in this type of scenario, and what you should consider before acting.

Let us suppose that you know why the detective wants to speak with you. Maybe you participated in some type of criminal behavior, or maybe you were just with someone who took part in an unlawful activity. The bottom line is that you know what the detective wants to talk to you about. Should you call back?

My answer is, absolutely not. There are a couple of things to consider here. First, if you have done something, one of the worst things that you could do is to give the detective a call back and start talking. If you voluntarily call a detective, your fifth amendment rights against self-incrimination are not relevant, as that conversation would be voluntary. If you pick up the phone or go down to the station with the intent of giving “your side of the story,” you have no protections as far as your fifth amendment rights are concerned. You are volunteering to give a statement, and your constitutional rights do not apply.

Another thing to contemplate is that you can never know for certain what law enforcement knows. Many times, they will say “I know A, B, and C, and because of that, I would like to hear your side of the story. I have already spoken with your friends Jim and Billy, and they have told me everything.” When you hear things like this, you must keep in mind that there is no stipulation in place that says police cannot deceive you. Because they can lie to you, you never know whether they are telling the truth or not. They may not actually know anything. I tell my clients all the time, whenever a police officer or detective is asking permission to discuss something with you, there are likely one of two things going on. The first is, they might have almost enough information to hand the case over to the prosecutor, but there are a few minor details they need to flesh out before charges can be made. They are hoping that you are going to pick up the phone, come down to the police station, and help them close the loops in their case. The other strong possibility is that they do not know anything. They might have just a scant bit of information, and they are hoping that you are going to fill in the blanks. Either way, if you do engage with them, you will be working against yourself by picking up the phone or speaking with a detective.

Your best move is this: do not call them back. In fact, the only call that you should be making is to a defense attorney. Let them know the situation and keep them on retainer. Anything you say to your defense attorney is going to be confidential. Your best bet is to not return that phone call or go down to the station, because you simply cannot win. Your constitutional protections and your rights are not going to be there for you.

If you do choose to give that detective a call back or go down to the station to give them that last bit of information they need, the only reward you will likely receive are handcuffs. Because you chose to return a call or tell “your side of the story,” suddenly you are charged. Remember, you don't know what they know, and they can lie to you.

If I can be of any further assistance to you, please call me or send me an email. I will be more than happy to help. Until then, take great care and remember, do not return that phone call!

About the Author

Corey L. Scott

Corey L. Scott, was born and raised in East Chicago, Indiana. Upon graduation from East Chicago Central High School, Corey attended Indiana State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminology.  Upon graduation, Corey accepted a position with the Marion County Superior Court, Juvenile Division where he served with distinction for the next nine years, eventually being promoted to Director of the Youth Counseling Department. Pursuing his dream of becoming an attorney, Corey attended the Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis.  While in law school, Corey was an Indiana Council on Legal Education Opportunity (ICLEO) fellow and participated in Moot Court competitions.  He also worked in the Marion Superior Court, Criminal Division as a bailiff and research assistant to the Honorable Tanya Walton Pratt, who serves as a Judge on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. Corey also served as an internship law clerk to the Honorable Judge, Margret G. Robb, at the Indiana Court of Appeals. Finally, upon graduation from law school, Corey had the distinct honor and privilege to serve as a law clerk to the Honorable Justice, Robert D. Rucker, who sits on the Indiana Supreme Court. Corey then became an associate with Mike Norris Law Office, where he specialized in bankruptcy law with a main concentration on working to assist families obtain a fresh start through Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  Still a young attorney, Corey then served as a public defender at the Marion County Public Defender Agency.  In this position, Corey gained invaluable trial experience by defending clients in a wide range of matters from misdemeanors to serious felonies on a daily basis.  It was also during this time that Corey discovered his passion for representing and serving "everyday people." An entrepreneur at heart, Corey established the Law Office of Corey L. Scott, P.C.  Since then, he and his staff have served the greater Indianapolis community and surrounding counties in several legal disciplines including: Bankruptcy, Criminal Defense and Family Law.  In keeping with his vision, Corey L. Scott, P.C., is a client focused, results oriented general law practice that endeavors to provide legal solutions for "everyday people" charged with a crime, dealing with financial crisis or going through a difficult divorce. Corey has also been active serving the greater Indianapolis community by participating in pro bono programs such as "Ask a Lawyer," the "Modest Means" panel program which allows individuals to afford legal counsel at a fraction of normal rates, Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic and the Heartland Pro Bono Council program. Corey is a proud member of the Indianapolis Bar Association, Indiana Bar Association, American Bar Association, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys.


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