Should You Voluntarily Turn Yourself in to Police?
WDRB 41 recently reported that a man turned himself in after being wanted for attempted murder in Elizabethtown. He allegedly fired shots toward someone after a domestic dispute. This brings up an interesting question, “Should you voluntarily turn yourself in to police?”
As with many legal questions, the answer is: It depends.
If you’ve been accused of a crime, regardless of whether you did or not, the police and other law enforcement agencies are going to want to speak with you and/or probably arrest you. There are many factors you may need to consider in deciding whether or not you turn yourself in voluntarily.
As an experienced Louisville criminal defense lawyer, let me begin by advising you to always seek the help of a competent criminal defense attorney. It certainly doesn’t have to be me, but a competent attorney. You have rights. One of those rights involves due process. A good lawyer will know how best to prepare you for your next action/decision so you have the best chance to avoid losing your rights and possibly your freedom.
The question of whether you turn yourself in to police also depends on your previous criminal record. If you have a history of violent crime, the police are going to be aware of it and will consider it accordingly. More importantly, they’re going to be ready for a fight with you. This heightens the conflict and stress in the situation and may lead to a serious over-reaction.
Having your attorney negotiate the surrender for you and then escort you to the police station can easily and quickly diffuse the situation and reduce the risk that someone gets hurt or worse.
Another factor is that by seeking out the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney, he/she can immediately begin gathering the facts and start building a case to defend or argue for leniency. The decision to voluntarily turn yourself in can show you’re attempting to cooperate with the police. Again, this simple act can provide your attorney with room to work proactively on your case, while eliminating many negative consequences that could otherwise happen.
The law is based on facts and rules. However, the application of the law and related penalties can be heavily influenced by a competent attorney who knows how to negotiate terms for you. I do this for a living. In many cases I can successfully negotiate with the prosecution to establish positive terms of your surrender. For instance, I can help you avoid the media, reporters and other publicity that may have a negative effect on your reputation, especially if you’re innocent.
I may even be able to reach an agreement on or resolution of the initial charges. Once those are set, I can also begin dismantling them.
Should you voluntarily turn yourself in to police? It’s not a decision you typically want to make on our own. However, we may be able to use it to your advantage if it’s done properly. Remember, this is only the opening punch in round one of a fight that’s going to go several rounds.