If you have been arrested, only speak in English!

If you’re a native English speaker who has been arrested, even if you understand Hebrew, only speak in English and you’ll give yourself a big advantage.

When lack of language skills helps

It is not for naught that my office newsletter, the enhanced website, and my hundreds of instructional and info videos are all in English. Hait Family Law is renowned for being one whose primary clientele are from the Anglo-Saxon communities.

Until recently, we offered services primarily in family matters, inheritance and wills, power of attorney and custodianship. However, three years ago I also added a criminal law department.

We were getting calls from English speakers needing criminal representation. They wanted someone who understands their language and mentality at a time when they were being accused of committing a crime.

The most important advice I give my clients during their first phone call after being arrested is only speak in English.

Interrogation in Hebrew

The case of a renovations contractor who was accused of building violations came before the judge. The English-speaking contractor had been interrogated in Hebrew by the inspector who was on hand.

The prosecutor said that the inspector from the municipal oversight department arrived at the home of the accused in response to a complaint about work that was being done at the building site. The inspector photographed the violation and obtained a confession from the suspect during which he admitted he changed the windows in the wall that was built into the pre-existing addition.

The prosecutor added that the inspector translated the interrogation into English for the accused and pointed out to him that he was entitled to consult a lawyer before the interrogation.

Exoneration for being an Anglo

When the judge heard the claims of the prosecutor, he requested that the inspector tell him in English, how he had related the warning that anything the interrogated person says during the interview can be used against him. The interrogator was unable to translate this sentence into English and he claimed that he simplified his Hebrew words for the accused.

The judge did not find any evidence of the building defects that the contractor was being accused of. What the judge did comprehend was that there were deficiencies in the interrogation that the inspector carried out with the accused.

Among other things, he wrote that the accused did not understand Hebrew and the interrogation should have been conducted in English, a language the inspector was not able to speak.

As expected, the contractor was exonerated.

Good advice

So if you are arrested, explain to the police or your interrogators that your Hebrew is not good enough for conversation. Do not sign any document that is written in Hebrew and write on the document, in English, that you do not understand what it says because you do not have a proper command of Hebrew. Speak only in the language that you know fluently.

And use your allotted telephone call to contact our office. 077-200-8161

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