What’s a “person of interest” in a criminal investigation?
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What’s a “person of interest” in a criminal investigation?

| Jan 25, 2021 | Violent Crimes

Something bad happened, and you dearly wish that you knew nothing about the whole thing.

Unfortunately, the news has picked up the story and you are being called (by name or by description) a “person of interest” by the police.

Are you about to be arrested?

Maybe. A person of interest is a very loose term. It can be used to describe anybody that the police want to talk to about a crime, so it can be used to reference known and unknown witnesses. There is a good chance that the police merely want to find out what you saw, what you heard or what you know about the crime.

If you were being described as a suspect, however, the odds that you are about to be arrested is significantly higher. The term “suspect” is used to describe the person that the police think either committed the crime or participated in it some way.

Sometimes, however, a person of interest becomes a suspect after questioning. That could, naturally, change your legal situation very quickly.

Should you talk to the police?

Lest you feel too reassured by the fact that you’re being called a “person of interest” instead of a suspect, let’s be clear: Do not (ever) talk to the police until you have spoken with a defense attorney.

Criminal statutes are complicated, and you could be guilty of a serious offense even though you saw yourself as nothing more than a bystander. This is particularly true in situations where violence, drugs or guns are involved. Protect your interests by making sure that you have an aggressive defense attorney on your side.