When is it important to hire an attorney in a licensing and criminal defense case? When case agent first contacts you! Do not talk to them. Just say thank you, I will call you back; can we meet next week; no you can not come into my house!!
Every day licensing board investigators, police detectives, human resource departments, or other government investigators reach out to targets or “individuals of interest” in a wide range of potential investigations. These law enforcement officers (most state investigators are retired police detectives) are trained to secure statements from the subject of the investigation. They call you, show up at your house, or try to meet with you at work. This when you know you need a lawyer.My blogs generate phone calls from potential clients. A recent theme of these calls sticks out; investigators are employing consistent, heightened and aggressive investigative techniques to surreptitiously secure statements and admissions of criminal conduct, unprofessional licensing behavior, or illegal behavior. This explained in one sentence; why do an investigation when an admission from the target will solve the case.
Targets give statements for one reason: ignorance and naïve understanding of the law. Targets or potential criminal defendants give statements because they think they are obligated to cooperate, should cooperate, or that cooperating is in their best interest. These reasons are incorrect.
Admitting to engaging in questionable or criminal conduct eliminates investigator’s obligation and duty of proving their case through means other th an admission by the target. Admissions to detectives and investigators eliminates their need to perform basic investigator police work. It satisfies the police officer’s burden of proof in securing evidence of illegal or criminal conduct against you.
Licensees who admit to a Board investigator to practicing outside the scope of their license, stealing from their clients, overcharging for services, or any other offense does the investigator’s job. In many cases, before the statement is secured, there is only a mere suspicion of inappropriate behavior. There is no specific evidence of a criminal act. The statement itself becomes the evidence against you. The person giving the statement creates the criminal evidence for the investigator that they did not otherwise have. (I feel the same way about licensees who cooperate in the PHMP VRP assessments. Do not give the Board’s any evidence they do not have.)
Once a criminal admission is given, the police officers don’t do anymore work. The state investigators don’t do anymore work. This why there is no legal obligation to cooperate.
Giving statements to employers in work place investigations has the same ultimate result. I have written about this many times. Choosing to not give a blood test, write a personal statement, or even provide copies of medical records cannot be held against you. You can be fired, but it can’t be held against you. At times it’s more important to choose to remain silent then to keep your job. Anything you say in the employment setting is merely turned over to the board investigator or police.
Remaining silent and not cooperating with any investigation — not disclosing truly damaging information — sometimes is the best defense of your license or against criminal charges. Do not succumb to the police officer bullying. Suggestions by police that they can secure search or arrest warrants should not persuade you to give up your constitutional rights.
You do not have to give a statement. You do not have to give a DNA test. You do not have to participate in any polygraph evaluation. If the officer does not believe your word or accept your version of events, agreeing to provide objective forensic evidence will not change their mind. You will just be giving them evidence to accumulate and use against you at a later date.
Hopefully you have the opportunity to read this blog before you have spoken to an investigator about a licensing issue, participated in the workplace related investigation, or cooperated with any police inquiry about your job or your behavior. If not, call me as soon as possible.
Whether you hire me or any other lawyer, stop cooperating with any police investigation.