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What is the difference between a person of interest and a suspect?

On Behalf of | Jun 26, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Police officers use different terms, including person of interest and suspect. During their work procedures, they use these terms to refer to involved parties. But how are they different? And which one is more serious?

Here is what you should know:

Person of interest

A person of interest is anyone the police believe has crucial information about a crime. It may be a witness or someone with a close relationship with the victim of the crime.


After assessing evidence and the information they collect from the person of interest, the police may find a party they believe committed the crime. This is a suspect. A person of interest may help the police find the suspect or may turn out to be one.

The police will continue investigating to gather more information against the suspect. If they can prove their claims in court, a suspect may be convicted, but they are innocent until proven guilty.

Not all cases have suspects, but the police will still interrogate the person of interest to obtain more information.

You should consider legal help when speaking with the police, whether you are a person of interest or a suspect. The fact that the police are talking to you about a particular crime means you are more likely to face charges for it than the average person on the street.

Police officers use different terms in their line of duty. It’s crucial to understand their meanings to understand what steps to take. You should get legal help to make informed decisions.