Michigan Domestic Violence Attorney: Talking to the Police

undefinedMichigan Domestic Violence Attorney Brian J. Prain Explains How Your Statements to the Police Will Affect Your Defense to a Michigan DV Charge.

As a Michigan Domestic Violence attorney, I defend those accused of Michigan Domestic Violence charges. I am unique in that I not only concentrate my practice exclusively on criminal defense (aside from the occasional helping of a friend or family member with a legal matter), but I concentrate specifically on crimes that contain an element of Assault. Domestic Violence is simply an Assault in a domestic context. What this means is that as a Michigan Domestic Violence attorney, I've handled cases just like yours many, many times over. Got a question? Why not just call our law office, Prain Law, PLLC at (248) 731-4543 right now and get a real answer from a Michigan Domestic Violence attorney?

A Michigan Domestic Violence attorney can help you understand how what you said to the Police before and after your arrest can affect the success of your case. Here is the typical scenario: your spouse or significant other calls the police on you alleging Domestic Violence. In reality, they're the one who was getting physical with you. Two police officers show-up and one of them begins to question you. Of course, there's no Michigan Domestic Violence attorneythere to tell you "NO! DON'T TALK TO THE POLICE!!! One officer is nice to you and the other acts like a jerk. The nice one even pretends to tell the other officer to calm-down. The nice one leads you on to believe you might not get arrested, but they just need "your side of the story - so [they] can close out the case and it'll be all over." Then, with your defenses down, you admit that you did "put your hands on" them at some point, but when you try to give them your justification, they cut you off and slap the cuffs on instead. Down a the Police Station, they give you your Miranda warnings on paper, ask you to sign that you understand them, and then a Detective comes in and asks you to write out a Statement. You're thinking "Haven't I heard I should just remain silent? But I'm worried things will get worse if I don't comply..."

RELATED: Click here for Michigan Domestic Violence Attorney's articles on Removing the No Contact Order.

This, or something close to it, is nothing unfamiliar to a Michigan Domestic Violence attorney. Let's break it down into two issues, your statements to the police before you were arrested and your statements to the Detective after you were arrested (Note: not everyone is interviewed by a Detective, but some are).

1) Your statements to the police before your arrest: These are technically hearsay, which is normally not admissible at Trial. However, if they are offered against you by the Prosecution, they are considered a "Party Admission" under under MRE 801(d)(2) and are an exception to the hearsay rule. That means your own words to the police can be used against you. But what if you tell the police something that is helpful to your case? The Prosecutor will object at Trial that it is hearsay, and the Judge will agree with the Prosecutor. In other words, you literally CANNOT help your case by trying to give your side of the story to the Police. As a Michigan Domestic Violence attorney, I can tell you that you can only HURT yourself by speaking to the Police. However, a Michigan Domestic Violence attorney can help you get around this problem by using MRE 106 if the statement was recorded or written, and by using MRE 403 if the alleged statement is more prejudicial to the search for truth than it is helpful. There are also Constitutional challenges that a Michigan Domestic Violence attorney can raise based on things like voluntariness vs. coercion. The issue here really is NOT whether they "read you your rights or not." It may surprise you to know that that is usually not significant here. Of course, this only scratches the surface...

2) Your statements to the police at the Police Station: The same hearsay exception and MRE 106 and MRE 403 also apply here to allow the harmful parts of the statement to be used against you (at least initially), but the real issue beyond that here is whether your 5th Amendment right to remain silent and 5th Amendment right (yes, 5th, not 6th - they're different) to counsel have been violated. Why? Because contrary to the above, this is an in custody statement. Even without a Michigan Domestic Violence lawyer, you know that for an in custody interrogation, you must be read your Miranda warnings ("You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say may be used against you in a Court of law. You have the right to have an attorney present. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.") Most Police Departments now put this on a form for you to read and sign. However, a Michigan Domestic Violence attorney is familiar with police who IGNORE requests for an attorney and allow the interview to continue. In this instance (and others), video and audio must be obtained from the interrogation room, and something called a Walker Hearing may need to occur in order to suppress your statement/confession. Again, this is very basic, and only scratches the surface.

The bottom-line: Anything you say to the police that hurts you may be used against you. Anything you say to the police that helps you may be objected to as hearsay and kept out of Court. You CANNOT help yourself by speaking to the police, despite their threats. Police don't even have the power to make "deals" with you, but they're allowed to lie to you about that. There is a distinction between statements/confessions to police before your arrest and after your arrest. You have more rights after your arrest.

If we tried to cover everything, this article would encompass volumes. But a good Michigan Domestic Violence lawyer can evaluate your specific facts quickly. Still reading? Get real answers from a real Michigan Domestic Violence lawyer - call Prain Law, PLLC anytime at (248) 731-4543. Not in the mood to talk but want answers? Use the e-mail Contact Form


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Prain Law, PLLC is focused only on the types charges featured on our website. This helps us deliver the decisive, effective advocacy for which our clients know us. We only serve individuals currently under investigation or who have a current case pending in court. Our firm does not represent injury victims, defendants who have already taken a plea or have been sentenced, or those seeking to expunge a criminal record. We do not respond to anyone who is not involved in a pending investigation or who has a court case for a type of charge we do not handle, but we wish you the very best of luck.