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Fairfax cop calls- Virginia lawyer cautions about answering them

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Fairfax cop calls- Image of cellphone

Fairfax cop calls to suspects do not require suspects to respond, says Virginia criminal lawyer

Fairfax cop calls to suspects are common. Many of my Virginia criminal defense clients for drug and other cases tell me that they gave the police their phone number and that the law enforcement officer subsequently called them. Savvy police know that they are in a race against the clock to deal with a criminal suspect or defendant before they obtain a Virginia criminal defense lawyer who will advise them to clam up. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I routinely warn my criminal defense clients and those who consult with me against talking with police when a possible suspect or arrestee. You have a Fifth Amendment Constitutional right not to communicate with police. If you have any inclination to do otherwise, beware doing so without the assistance and presence of a lawyer whom you obtain for such a purpose.

Must I provide my phone number to a Fairfax cop who asks for it?

Nobody has an obligation to own a phone in the first place, which by itself means that you have no obligation to provide your phone number to a Fairfax cop nor any other police officer. (A corollary to that is that nobody other than a driver is required to carry identification documentation with them, which by itself means that no non-driver needs to show their identification document to police). Why do law enforcement officers telephone suspects and arrestees? Sometimes they do that to try to arrange for snitching / ratting / cooperation work whereby the suspect makes an effort (not always with any guarantees) to reduce their exposure to prosecution, conviction and harsh sentencing for their own actual or suspected criminal activity, by exposing the criminal activity of others and to catch them in criminal activity. Other times, Virginia police want to fill in or clarify information for their investigation that they did not yet obtain.

What do I do if police call my phone?

As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I know that if you give your phone number to a Fairfax cop or other law enforcement officer, you are free (as in all situations) to change or cancel your phone number. If a Virginia police officer calls your phone, you have no obligation to answer nor reply to the phone call. Of course, you will not always recognize the calling phone number as belonging to a law enforcement officer, and might answer the call. How do you end the call at the very beginning? It can be as simple as saying “I am not available” and ending the call, or saying “I decline to speak” and ending the call. If you already have a Fairfax criminal lawyer or other Virginia criminal defense lawyer, you can say “Call my lawyer Joe Smith at 703-346-****”.  You are free to engage your phone number blocker with the caller. After police call you, you can benefit from obtaining the advice and assistance of a qualified Fairfax criminal lawyer or other Virginia criminal defense attorney. Your refusing to talk with police might more quickly have them arrest you for their investigation, but you remain presumed innocent even when arrested. Obtaining the right lawyer for you early on can be critical for protecting your liberty and reputation.

Why is it risky for me to speak with a Virginia police officer?

If it were not risky for you to speak with a Fairfax cop when an actual or possible criminal suspect, the drafters of the Bill of Rights would not have bothered including the Fifth Amendment and the Supreme Court would not have spent so much of its time crafting its Miranda v. Arizona decision (at 384 U.S. 436 (1966)) and its progeny that requires police to warn in-custody suspects of their right to remain silent, their right to have a lawyer present, and that anything they tell the police can and will be used against them in a court of law. Police love questioning suspects who are not in custody, because Miranda does not require law enforcement to provide such warnings to those who are not in custody.

Fairfax criminal lawyer Jonathan Katz does this work because knows he is on the side of the angels and loves battling for justice against Virginia DUI, felony and misdemeanor prosecutions. Call 703-383-1100 for your free in-person initial confidential consultation with Jon Katz about your court-pending criminal case.