If you called them because of an emergency, yes. But if they are investigating a crime and you are the suspect, no. First, you have the right to be left alone by police and they can't force you to talk to them. You are not violating any law by refusing to answer questions or speak with them about an investigation. Second, giving a statement creates opportunities for the police to misunderstand. Often, they have already decided you are guilty and nothing you can say will help you, in fact, it can be used against you and most often is. It is not up to the police officer to decide if charges will be filed against you. It is the officer’s job to gather information and turn it over to the prosecutor who then determines if there is enough evidence to bring charges against you. Therefore, speaking with the police only provides them with more information to turn over to the prosecuting attorney. Why take the risk?
If you are contacted by police or an investigator who wants to speak to you about a crime in which you are a suspect, call an attorney before speaking to anyone.
Pretrial Services FACTS
What is Pretrial Services?
Pretrial Services is a supervision and monitoring program ordered by a judge as a condition of bond or release for someone who has been charged with a crime but hasn't been to trial.
How long are people on the program?
Until the criminal case is resolved. The average length of time a person is on the program is just over three months.
Why are some people charged with crimes put on pretrial programs?
This is a decision made by the judge in charge of the criminal case who takes a wide variety of factors into consideration — like terms of employment, family responsibilities, and student status — when determining the best interest of the person who has been charged.
How can people be released from the program?
When the judge who has the case decides they can be released.
What monitoring programs are available?
The judge or Pretrial Services Unit officials determine what specific programs will be used for people in the program. For the monitoring of alcohol consumption, a portable breath testing device or an ankle monitor may be used. Random urinalysis (UA) can be done for both alcohol and/or drug consumption. A Global Positioning System (GPS) monitoring unit may be used to make sure people do not violate terms of pretrial release if they have restrictions on where they are allowed to go. Day reporting is another option.
Who chooses the alcohol monitoring program people in the program will be on?
The Judge may select a specific program or ask the Pretrial Services Unit to assess and select the program which is the best fit for each person in the program.
What are the fees associated with a Pretrial Program?
There is no cost for the direct supervision. There are costs for monitoring programs; the portable breath testing device is $7.50/day, ankle monitor is $9.50/day, GPS is $8.00/day, and urinalysis $12.50/test. Those prices are subject to change.
When does a Pretrial Program officially start?
It starts as soon as a judge signs the Pretrial Release Order. When scheduling Pretrial Orientation, the person in the program will be given specific instructions and expectations for each component of the program .
What if people are non-compliant during a Pretrial program?
The Pretrial Services Unit will immediately report misconduct to the 4th District Court and the judge in charge of the criminal case. This typically results in a sanction ordered by the judge, whether it be an immediate return to jail, the issuance of a warrant for contempt of court or an increase in bond.
Will other people drinking alcohol next to someone with an alcohol detection device set that device off?
Although these devices are quite sensitive, personal contact with one another will not affect the device.
Why are some people placed on pretrial program before being found guilty?
This is a court-ordered program where the Judge has found it necessary for some people to participate. The reasoning varies, but the most common reason is to monitor for alcohol or drug use.
What is the purpose of a Pretrial Program?
To enhance community safety, reduce failure to appear warrants, and save tax payer money by freeing a jail bed which could have otherwise been taken by a non-violent defendant. The long term goal of the program is to reduce recidivism in our community.
Devon Wilson, Marketing, PR