How to Handle Contacts and Interviews From Government and Others?
As a mater of great concern is what to do when confronted with a telephone call from law enforcement, a licensing Board, Bureau or Agency, and/or an investigator who is seeking to obtain the underlying facts, information, details &/or answers to questions. Even more challenging is when such an individual makes an in-person contact with you. It is the considered opinion of this writer that any of these inquiries may have or produce both intended and unintended consequences.
Accordingly, there are multiple reasons we do not recommend our clients participate in any dialogue and/or series of questions and answers, without the advice of experienced legal counsel. What may at first glance appear to be friendly and seem to not involve legal issues, may indeed produce legal exposure and liability. Seemingly innocent queries are frequently investigations, which then turn out to be interrogations rather than interviews by others, whether by the government or an other individual.
What are some of the issues:
1) these encounters and confrontations are frequently conducted under the guise of an interview when there appears to be reasonable cause that a violation of law has taken place that puts you at risk for criminal, administrative &/or civil liability.
2) when law enforcement personnel and/or an agent thereof has not admonished you regarding your “Miranda” rights to remain silent, that what you say may incriminate you, etc. Then and as a result, you may not really know and understand the underlying allegations, summary of issues and, in particular not know and fully understand your rights, and innocently make a statement that is incriminating.
3) far too often, the dialogue you believed was of little or no consequence is tape recorded.
4) the answerer is at a major disadvantage in trying to recall facts and respond when (s)he has not had a thorough opportunity to review the question(s) and all of the facts in a non-threatening environment, and hopefully with their personal attorney.
5) there is a built-in bias on the part of investigators or persons using a different title or description but conducting a search for information, facts and evidence, that the answerer is not likely to be fully honest and truthful because they believe the answerer has something to hide &/or they believe (s)he is equally informed of the facts of the case, and directly or indirectly is trying to be deceptive when nothing could be farther from the truth.
In summary, we recommend you confer with an experienced attorney before you engage in and or respond to any verbal or written communications from anyone (except your lawyer), whether from an investigator, enforcement personnel, analyst, government employee or staff and/or any other law enforcement officer or agent, as well as a former or current employer &/or their employees relating to what may be the basis of and/or lead to a violation of law, a legal problem, dispute or issue, disciplinary action, etc.