People who are uncertain about whether to talk to a police officer needn’t feel trapped into giving an immediate "yes" or "no." Being confronted by a police officer tends to make many people nervous and anxious, which renders(致使) them unable to give completely accurate answers. A good alternative is to delay the interview by saying something such as "This is a bad time," or ”I didn’t expect this so I’m a bit muddled(混乱的) now, please come back another time." Among other things, delay provides an opportunity to consult with a lawyer, and perhaps to have the lawyer present during the interview if the person ultimately decides to talk.
b. Might the Police Learn About Any Unrelated Crimes I Have Committed as a Result of the Interview?
People may talk to police officers because they are confident that they can demonstrate that they are not involved in the crimes that the officers are investigating. However, they may unwittingly disclose information implicating themselves in other criminal activity.
Case Example: While voluntarily answering a police officer’s questions and denying any involvement in a burglary that took place on May 15, Sol Itary nervously mentions that he was using illegal drugs with someone else at another location.
Question: If Itary is charged with possession of illegal drugs based on other evidence, can the prosecution offer Itary’s statement to the officer into evidence?
Answer: Yes. Itary voluntarily spoke to the officer, so the statement is admissible.
c. Will Previous Contacts I’ve Had With the Police Possibly Lead Them to Distort What I Say?
People who think that they may be police "targets" (perhaps because of past criminal records) should be especially careful about voluntarily talking to a police officer. Police officers sometimes distort people’s oral statements, either because the officers are lying or because they have heard only what they want to hear. By repeating in court only part of a person’s statement or changing a few words around, a police officer may make an innocent remark seem incriminating.