If you are suspected of a crime, the police can come to your house or work or find you on the road to speak with you. Usually it'll be a detective in plain clothes in an unmarked car who will want to speak with you. You may find a card from the detective under your door, or a message on your phone from him asking you to call.
You always have the right to stay silent, as anything you say to a police detective will be used against you in court. You also have the right to be represented by an attorney when speaking with the police.
Just because a detective comes around searching for you does not mean you must talk to him or see him in the police precinct. If the detective is at your door, you do not need to open it for him unless he has a warrant. If a detective is knocking at your door, you do not need to reply. You can wait till he leaves in case you want and then of course call your lawyer.
Usually, a detective will induce you to come into the precinct headquarters to"speak". But when you set foot into the precinct, the detective will have you in his mercy, where he can use unique patterns - such as"great cop/bad cop" - or violate your rights just enough to be"legal" for you to talk. Maybe he will take your backpack out of you or other property you came in with just like your mobile phone, then direct you to await him, leaving you alone in a room for what might feel like a lifetime. He might even ask you to write your version of this story down and then use that against you later.
The authorities are specialists trained in gaining your trust and confidence. They know what to say and what tone to use with you. They'll lie and misinform you to find information they want. They can tell you they have witnesses when they don't or say they'll lower the fees when they won't. The police most likely won't read you your rights because they would like to create an informal, relaxed look so that you will spill the beans voluntarily.
Good Cop, Bad Cop
If you are not speaking then detectives may use the"great cop/bad cop" routine. The first cop sits alone with you in a little room and talks about the"offense". If he is not getting the information he needs to listen to nail you, then you might end up standing in the fingerprint machine with another more sensitive cop. As soon as you're in the fingerprint machine you can be sure that you're being charged in spite of the fact that no one explained anything to you, read you your rights or told you exactly what you are being charged with. Part of the game is to keep you disoriented and imagining your situation. If you hear that the new cop say"just tell the detective what he wants to hear and you're going to get out of here quicker on a lesser charge" then you are being"played" and you really have to keep quiet. Do not say something just because you believe it will get you out faster, because you are already in there and you are likely to go through the arrest process no matter what.
Once the police tell you that the consequences of a crime they intend to charge you with, or they can lower the charge, do not believe anything they say. They can and will lie to you for you to talk so that they could make an arrest. The police aren't your attorney, they're not your friends-- they're there to make an arrest.
The only way to protect yourself is to stay quiet at all times. Enforce your right by always and politely stating"I'm staying silent until I have counsel." The police can't interrogate you after you invoke that right, even though they will attempt to interrogate you. They also can not interrogate you unless they read you your rights.
When you arrive at the police precinct, the police should have you sign a paper with your legal rights recorded on it. They ought to have you read your rights whenever they read it to you, then have you initial each correct and sign the paper in the bottom with the date and time. This paper is a fantastic thing for the authorities to show they followed procedure and it'll organize the time of your arrest closely with the time of reading your rights. It's not compulsory that they give you this paper together with your rights, since they can by law read you your rights and notice in their laptop the time they read you your rights. Needless to say, they might never read you your rights and say they did.
Hiring a Lawyer
If a detective is hounding you with telephone messages and coming from your house leaving cards with your roommate or family, instantly get an lawyer. A lawyer can ascertain if the police will arrest you. If you will be arrested then your lawyer will advise you what to do (and what to say or not say), clarify the arrest procedure, arrange for you to turn yourself in and get you through the process faster. Additionally, the authorities will know they can not interrogate you when you are represented by counsel.
A great lawyer will fax a letter of representation to the precinct and accompany you through the arrest process by calling the appropriate offices and getting one to arraignment and out faster. Your lawyer should also fax a notice of appearance in your behalf to the Arraignment Clerk's Office the moment he or she finds you have been"docketed" from the District Attorney's office (meaning they have drafted and filed a Criminal Complaint against you and assigned a docket number for your case so that it could be heard by the court).
Should you not willingly turn yourself in then the authorities will recall you made it tougher for them to arrest you and they may purposely delay your arrest procedure and force you to sit for three days in jail before you find a judge. They will delay filling out your paperwork and sending it to the appropriate offices. They might even reduce your paperwork.
The last thing you need to do is spend a minute longer being arrested and in jail so here's a valuable tip: do not turn yourself in or get arrested at night or on a weekend because there are less people working those changes and the courts shut certain hours, so the process can take three days or sometimes longer.