An investigator wants to talk to me, I have nothing to hide, should I talk?

If you or your loved one has been contacted by the Criminal Investigations Division (CID), the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), or another military investigative service, you need to get representation immediately.  Many times, the questions posed by investigators seem harmless at first and because no one wants to appear like they are hiding something, servicemembers often sit down and answer questions without an attorney.  This is a mistake.  If you have been pulled in to talk to an investigator and are read your rights, this means you are suspected of a crime.  An investigator’s job is to find the person who committed the alleged crime, and if you are read your rights, chances are they believe that person is you.  I know that it is difficult for servicemembers to invoke their right to silence because servicemembers are used to being compliant and answering questions posed to them by authority figures.  However, in this scenario, it is important that you respectfully tell the investigator that while you plan to be cooperative and helpful to them, you want to invoke your right to an attorney and not answer questions until you have had the chance to consult with one.  There is nothing disrespectful about wanting to speak with an attorney before you answer questions.  Once you invoke this right to an attorney, the investigator must cease questioning you.  This choice does not make you appear guilty.  This choice makes you appear cautious and intelligent.  I cannot stress it enough, invoke your right to an attorney if your rights are read to you.  The investigators have a job to do, they are not trying to be your friend or help you out, even though it may seem that way.  Sometimes these investigators do not have the right to demand things from you because they are serving in a Title 10 status and you may be serving in a Title 32 status.  This has occurred with National Guard Soldiers recently who have been accused and investigated for conspiracy involving the former Guard Recruiting Assistance Program.  You always need to know your rights when being questioned and this is how an experienced attorney can help.  What about a polygraph?  Should you take one because you have nothing to hide?  No.  Do not submit to a polygraph without advice from counsel.  While the results of polygraphs may not be admissible as evidence against you in a court of law, they can still be used against you administratively in the military.  Additionally, any interview that takes place after the polygraph can be used as evidence against you in a criminal trial.  What about DNA, fingerprints and photographs of tattoos?  Should I let an investigator collect these things from me?  If they have a valid search warrant for these items, then you have no choice but to comply.  If the agents come without a warrant, you have to provide consent for them to collect these things.  Consult an attorney!  Whether you are guilty of something or not, these investigators have a reason to suspect you of doing something wrong.  Do not trust that they have your best interests in mind.  Contact an attorney with experience immediately.  You need someone with experience by your side to help you through the investigation process.  I have that experience.  Please call me for help.  To speak to an experienced court-martial and military defense attorney, call Bill Cassara at 706-860-5769 for a free consultation.

William E. Cassara- Military Law Attorney

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