Modified Transcript of “Do Family & Friends Have to Cooperate with Police” for the Hearing Impaired:
If my loved one is accused of a felony, can I plead the fifth?
When you are called upon to answer questions by law enforcement, people often times refer to or ask the question, “Can I plead the Fifth?”
Normally, pleading the Fifth has to do with a person actually charged with a crime or in police custody. You have the Fifth Amendment Right to not be compelled to give evidence against yourself.
That is different than the issue of whether or not as a family member you have to cooperate with a police investigation.
That’s a sticky, sticky area of law, and sometimes what happens is when people start to get involved they don’t share all the information.
As a result, a family member “trying to help” or at least “not hurt” a loved one may later be looking at some sort of obstruction charge for not providing truthful information or for delaying or obstructing an officer in the performance of his or her duties.
If any person shall willfully and unlawfully resist, delay or obstruct a public officer in discharging or attempting to discharge a duty of his office, he shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor
See Related: NCGS Resist Obstruct Delay Statute
If there’s any question, if you have an issue about whether or not you are required to cooperate for law enforcement, call a lawyer.
Get a lawyer involved.
Let the lawyer ask the sometimes difficult questions. Let the lawyer ferret through things and figure out whether or not you need to cooperate.
The worst thing that can happen is if you think that you could outsmart some very, very smart people, some very, very smart prosecutors, and you don’t tell all the truth or you tell falsehoods, and not only do you become a target for being impugned in front of a jury, you become a target for a criminal prosecution yourself.
Don’t take a chance with this. Call a lawyer.
Call a lawyer who is experienced handling serious felonies and misdemeanors and realize that you have a right to talk to an attorney.
You can always assert your right to talk to an attorney before giving any statement.
Even if you’re pressured, even if they said, “It will go better if you just talk to us now,” that is not always the case; and it cannot be held against you in a court of law that you asked to speak to someone who understands how the process works, and that person is your lawyer.
Please, talk to an attorney immediately.
Bill Powers has been listed in 2015 SuperLawyers North Carolina Magazine. In calendar years 2012, 2013 & 2014, SuperLawyers further included Bill in the “Top 100” Lawyers in North Carolina. In 2013 Bill was listed as “Top 25 in Charlotte” by SuperLawyers North Carolina.
For Membership Information & Criterion for Inclusion to SuperLawyers North Carolina see: https://www.superlawyers.com/north-carolina/lawyer/Bill-Powers/ccf452c7-eeb6-4f0e-98e4-337804e043e8.html
Powers Landreth, pllc in 2015 has been again listed as a “Best Law Firm” by U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT. For Member Info & Criterion for Inclusion see: https://bestlawfirms.usnews.com/profile/powers-mccartan-pllc/overview/44550
In 2015 Bill Powers has been included in Best Lawyers of America. For membership info & criterion for inclusion see: https://www.bestlawyers.com/lawyers/bill-powers/78562/
Bill Powers has also been listed in “Top 100 Criminal Defense Lawyers in North Carolina” by The National Trial Lawyers. For member info & criterion for inclusion see: https://www.thenationaltriallawyers.org/profile-view/Bill/Powers/5071/