What are the risks of being involved with a friend in a high profile theft case? 43 Answers as of October 03, 2011

I have a close friend involved in a high-profile case, and has been released on bail. I've never had a friend that has been accused of theft like this, investigated by the FBI. I really feel my friend, who is released and with a family member needs some support right now. What is my exposure/risk etc. I face talking to my friend? Should I ask him to have an attorney on the phone just so that we can talk? I really don't want media questioning, in addition I'm somewhat fearful the other person involved might find out and suspect I may try to defend.

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Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
Your friend and you should not be talking about his/her case. Anything said to you is not confidential and his/her lawyer should have advised them not to talk with anyone about it.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Replied: 10/3/2011
Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
I'd advise you to retain an attorney to assist you with this matter. It's always complicated when a friend finds themselves in these situations. What you say can and will be used against you or your friend if you are ever ultimately charged in connection with this matter. Your exposure is being potentially investigated yourself as either a possible witness or accomplice. While there are the occasional exceptions, your conversations with your friend are generally not considered confidential and are generally not privileged pursuant to the rules of evidence. You may be asked to testify against your friend if they believe your friend admitted guilt to you. You, however, also have a right to remain silent if what you say may be self-incriminating. Your friend may have alternatives to find emotional support and could find that support in a more confidential setting. If the authorities view you as a potential accomplice and if they have enough evidence, you could face charges yourself. I'd recommend you consult with an attorney and advise against you talking to your friend about the case unless you are fully aware of the potential consequences.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 9/2/2011
Donahue, Sowa & Magana Attorneys at Law
Donahue, Sowa & Magana Attorneys at Law | Glenn M. Sowa
Assuming you were not involved with the alleged crime, and as long as you do not discuss the pending case with your friend you have nothing to worry about. Remember, your friend is innocent until proven guilty. Your support as a friend would probably be most welcome.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 8/24/2011
Austin Legal Services, PLC
Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
You can still remain friends, just being aware that the dynamics of that friendship may change. You can always refuse to speak to the media or anyone else that wants to question you about the case. You don't need an attorney present to talk to him, but it's a really good idea not to ask him anything or discuss anything about the case because you could be called to testify if the prosecutor found out.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/24/2011
Law Offices of John J. Connors, Esq.
Law Offices of John J. Connors, Esq. | John J. Connors, Esq.
There is a risk that if you talk to your friend about the case you risk being a witness in the case. Through phone records and in other ways the authorities can find out to whom your friend is talking. If you help him in any way, you risk being an accessory after the fact. If you want to talk to him to give him your support, that's fine. Don't ask him about the case and don't offer to help him. He has a lawyer and that's what lawyers are for.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Replied: 8/23/2011
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
    1) Do you waste your friend's legal fees having an attorney listen - the attorney client privilege would not attach to your conversations anyway 2) If this is a friend, be a friend, that means lend an ear, be supportive, etc. just as if this had not happened 3) Do not talk to the media, if they call, you know nothing and have no comment 4) This is very important. Do not discuss your friend's case. You can be made a witness if your friend says something to you. So do not discuss the case.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 8/22/2011
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    You can certainly talk with your friend; however, whether or not it is justified, be careful of guilt by association. Also. Anything your friend may tell you is not privileged communication. You could be subpoenaed into court and required to give testimony as to what you and your friend talked about.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/22/2011
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation | Paul Wallin
    If you are concerned about having contact with him then you should do so in person only. If you want our legal help we have been representing high profile defendants for well over 30 years.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/22/2011
    Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan
    Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan | Geoffrey M. Yaryan
    Talk with him all you want, however not about the case. If he has an attorney, he or she should tell him not to discuss the case with anyone;
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/22/2011
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    If you have no connection with the crime you should be safe in giving support to your friend.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/22/2011
    Frances R. Johnson
    Frances R. Johnson | Frances R. Johnson
    I don't understand the last part of the last sentence (you may try to defend what?). It's not against the law to speak to or associate with someone who is accused of breaking the law. Outside of that, there's not really a set answer to your question.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/22/2011
    Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
    Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
    I would need further information to answer better. However if you are not involved in the theft you should be OK although the authorities may want to question you to see if you were involved or have knowledge of your friends actions. If they do question you you should have your own lawyer present.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/21/2011
    Bloom Legal, LLC
    Bloom Legal, LLC | Seth J. Bloom
    You should be careful not to expose yourself to criminal liability. If you are aware of illegal conduct that does not go reported, you could potentially face charges as an accessory after the fact. It is unfortunate that you should have to limit your contact with your friend but you should make it clear to him that you do not have any desire to discuss the issues or case with him. His attorney will likely have advised him not to discuss the case with anybody anyway (and it is unlikely that it is a topic of conversation that he will want to dwell on anyway). Try to be there for your friend in ways that do not involve discussing his pending charges.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 8/21/2011
    Law Office of Andrew Subin
    Law Office of Andrew Subin | Andrew Subin
    Its no crime to talk to your friend. However, encouraging, aiding, supporting him in committing any crime would get you in trouble.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/21/2011
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
    At this point I would avoid talking with my friend. I would send a note telling them that I support them but no talk on the telephone nor face to face until the matter is resolved.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/21/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    A friend is defined as someone who walks in when everyone else walks out. You should be extremely careful of any conversation you have with your friend. Do not let him talk with you about the case as if he does, you may find yourself as a witnesses compelled to testify against him.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/20/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    There are little or no risks (legally) to just being a friend if you do nothing wrong. IE hide proceeds of the theft etc. Socially people could look at you funny if they think that you are hanging with this thief. They might think you are just like the person. But this is a call you have to make friendship vs public opinion.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/21/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    Being a friend should not impose any risk of penalty on you if you are not otherwise involved.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/20/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    We recomend you retain a criminal lawyer with federal court experience to discuss your rights and options. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/20/2011
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson | Michael E. Hendrickson
    If you are not involved in criminal activity, your risks in the situation described should be minimal, and, no, there should be no need for you to engage the services of an attorney to monitor your telephone conversations with the defendant.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 8/20/2011
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger | James A Schoenberger
    If you are not involved in any of your friend's alleged activities, you should have no worries.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/20/2011
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
    What? The risks involved because yolu are friends with someone with a high profile case? I guess you could be chased by reporters wanting information. You could be contacted by defense lawyers & investigators wanting character references. You could be contacted by prosecutors or other law enforcementif they think you have information. If you feel you need a lawyer to monitor your "friendly" conversations then just don't talk to him. If you have fears about retaliation from others, then don't talk to him. Doesn't really sound like you are much of a friend.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 8/20/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    Risk? If you are involved in the crimes, or the police think they can show you are, you could be charged the same as him. If youre not, then there is nothing to fear. If you associate with him publically, you risk publicity. Nothing is going to change that. If subpoenaed as a witness, you can be compelled to testify about anything you know. This is all TV cop show and general knowledge stuff.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/20/2011
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC | Lacy Fields
    There is always a possibility that, because you do not have a doctor-patient or attorney-client privilege, that you could later be subpoenaed and would have to testify as to what your friend told you. Also, his phones may still be tapped.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 8/20/2011
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
    There is nothing wrong with talking with your friend to support him in a difficult time. However, it would not be wise to speak about his crime or facts related to his case. It is far more of a risk to him than you. Just assume that the police or FBI are monitoring all of your conversations, which they very well may be doing. Keeping this in mind, you can speak with him about things other than his crime. If he wants to speak about his crime I would advise against it. You do not want to be privy to any facts related to his case or its investigation. Ask him to speak to his attorney about it before you and he speak.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 8/20/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    I didn't follow all of your question but there's nothing wrong with being supportive of your friend. Just be very careful that you don't do or say anything that may implicate you in his troubles or any other kind of foul play or criminality whatsoever.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
    If you are not involved, then you should not fear risk of charges. However, you could be investigated. I hope that this was helpful.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/20/2011
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C.
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C. | Michael Morgan
    I have a lot ( too much) experience with the media-the media won't normally care about the friends of any defendant.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Michael Maltby, Attorney at Law
    Michael Maltby, Attorney at Law | Michael Maltby
    You can talk to your friend all you want and without an attorney. And you do not have to answer any questions by the media assuming that you are even asked. It is up to you whether you talk to your friend and whether you let others influence who you associate with.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    You should never associate with criminals or help them in any way to commit a crime, avoid arrest or prosecution, cover up a crime, tamper with evidence, or escape. You can be charges as an accomplice after the fact or as an accomplice to a conspiracy. You should consult an attorney and tell him the facts and circumstances to avoid any problems.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Law Offices of Andrew D. Myers
    Law Offices of Andrew D. Myers | Andrew D. Myers
    You used the word "friend" 5 times in the query, leading me to question why you are trying to convince yourself that this person is really a friend. If you were involved in the theft you have direct criminal liability. If you knew about it before and/or after your real problem is accomplice liability at some level. Do not post any additional facts on any public forum including this one. Retain an attorney for yourself and ask specific questions only in that context.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Lewis & Dickstein, P.L.L.C.
    Lewis & Dickstein, P.L.L.C. | Loren Dickstein
    You have to do what is right as a friend. The best thing you can do it tell your friend to get a good Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney who will fight for him!
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Lawrence Lewis
    Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
    No one can advise you about your exposure until the attorney hears all of the details, which will probably require a consult.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    As a general rule it is the best practice to take a wide birth around anyone under a criminal investigation or involved in criminal activity. The old adage of guilt by association really holds true. The best advice is probably to send him or her a card expressing your support and leave it at that.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    Stay away. Rather run away. You could be an accomplice, an accessory after the fact or worse.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC | Martina A. Vigil
    If you don't say anything that will implicate you in a crime, you have nothing to worry about. There is nothing that prohibits someone from contact a person being charged with a crime.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Law Office of Joe Dane
    Law Office of Joe Dane | Joe Dane
    You're being incredibly vague, and that's best for a public forum such as this. There is absolutely no crime in being supportive to your friend, but don't put either of you in a tough spot. Don't discuss the facts of the case and do NOT solicit information from them about the case. There is absolutely no privilege between you and any admissions they make could be forced from you under subpoena in court. If you're concerned that you're implicated in any way, then you should seek your own independent counsel in a criminal defense attorney in your area.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Law Office of Maureen Furlong Baldwin
    Law Office of Maureen Furlong Baldwin | Maureen Furlong Baldwin
    Normally, your friend's attorney will not allow him to discuss the facts of the case with anyone. I am not sure why you are afraid that talking to your friend will make you somehow liable. I certainly know nothing about his case, so I cannot advise you if it is reasonable to fear possible liability based on your association w/your friend before the arrest.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Eric J Schurman, Attorney at Law
    Eric J Schurman, Attorney at Law | Eric James Schurman
    Unless you're somehow involved in the theft, I can see no legal reason for you to cease contact with your friend. You may choose to distance yourself for other reasons. At the very least, I would advise you not to discuss the allegation with him at all.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Watkins Law Office
    Watkins Law Office | Bob Watkins
    If you were not involved in the crime itself, and you provide no criminal support or advice to impede the investigation after the fact, then you should not be at risk to be charged.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    John Segelbaum, P.S.
    John Segelbaum, P.S. | John Segelbaum
    Other than risk to your reputation, you haven't presented any information that suggests you face any legal liability merely by having contact with this individual.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/19/2011
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