After a Shooting: When You’re Taken for Questioning

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Last week we discussed what happens in the aftermath of a self-defense shooting — from the possible events all the way up to landing in jail or being “taken downtown.” Let’s pick up from there.

Navigating the Police Interrogation

It’s important again to remember that procedures will vary based on the jurisdiction you’re in. At this point in most cases, an officer will take you to an interrogation room and record your answers to a battery of questions. The officer may try to “blitz” you with questions, coming at you kind of hard. He may also try to be your friend, offering coffee and “just trying to understand.”

This will most likely be a different cop than the one on the scene. So, he will know less about what happened than the person you were dealing with before. It is important to already have your legal representation with you at this point, if possible.

You will most likely, however, be on your own for the first few hours before your attorney can get there. Raise your rights and then stop talking. And know the difference between those rights. If you raise your right to silence, the police can continue to badger you and ask you questions. If you ask for your attorney, the police have to disengage. If you start talking though, you have waived your rights. You have now made a voluntary statement.

Getting Out of Jail

The timeline for when you can get out will vary from place to place and in differing situations. You may be charged at hour 47 of 48, and that starts a new timeline. Remember, you’ll get much further with the jail staff if you’re polite. The police are not holding you maliciously; they’re just trying to find the facts. They may ask you the same question over and over again trying to get to the truth. The interview process may last 30 to 60 minutes, or it may last 7 to 8 hours.

Keep your cool. Ask for your attorney. Take the time you need to sort out what happened. Be polite. Stick to the facts.

Next week, we’ll continue through the aftermath of a self-defense incident with the release from jail and what happens next.

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