Do I have to submit to fingerprinting for automobile vandalism on my ex’s vehicle?

UPDATED: Aug 3, 2011

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Do I have to submit to fingerprinting for automobile vandalism on my ex’s vehicle?

My ex’s vehicle was vandalized and the police have asked me to go in for fingerprinting to “eliminate” suspects. I don’t know what it would eliminate. I’ve been in, on, and anywhere else imaginable with his vehicles. The officer told me that if I don’t go in they’ll get a search warrant and take me from work and everything. Can they do that? Do I have to go in?

Asked on August 3, 2011 New Mexico


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Under no circumstances should you go in for fingerprinting or speak with the police without an attorney present.  You are under no obligation to do so (unless they have an actual warrant).  You do not have to voluntarily put yourself in a position to incriminate yourself. In fact, even if the police come to your home to question you about this case, you do not need to speak with them. 

Getting you to come in, at least without an attorney, is to their benefit. They will only try and get you to implicate yourself.  No matter how low friendly they may appear, or conversely, no matter how intimidating they seem - do go down to the police station without a lawyer.  

At this point you should consult directly on the matter with a criminal law attorney in your area. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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