Asking for an attorney, If you are being questioned by the police is YOUR right. It does not matter if you have committed a crime or not. You have the right to counsel. It’s one of the most basic and fundamental of rights of our justice system – the right to counsel. Every person is entitled to representation, defense and every person is entitled to know how their actions will affect the future of the case – before those actions happen. Bottom line – it’s your right to ask for a lawyer and to ask a lawyer for advice before you speak.
The news media often portrays person’s guilt long before a trial, or even an arrest has been made. You may think that because of what you have seen happen in the news, you will look guilty if you ask for a lawyer. You may believe that the police won’t honor your right to counsel after you ask for a lawyer. None of this is reality. Asserting these rights is honored and respected. And if for some reason it is not, there is no obligation for you to say a word further to anyone.
Consider this scenario – you are home one night and across the street you hear shots ring out in the neighborhood followed by tires screaming away. You call 911 and ask the police to come and investigate. They speak to you briefly, take your information and dismiss you from the scene. Later in the week, you are at home and the police knock on your door. They ask you to come down to the station to speak with them about an active investigation concerning the incident in your neighborhood that you called in about. They offer no details. You agree, thinking if you can be of help, you want to do so. Down at the station they begin to question you about a crime for which you have no knowledge. You try to help and provide information, but your answers only elicit more questions. After a while, you get nervous and wonder if you should request to leave. Suddenly, you find yourself immersed in an investigation of a crime that you know nothing about.
How did this happen? What are your rights? Are you free to leave? Are you a suspect? What do you do now? Should you rely on the police at this point?
- Ask for details. Why are you being questioned? Be polite but make sure you receive answers as to why you are needed to provide answers.
- Leave. Ask if you are free to leave. If you are not free to leave, ask plainly, “Am I under arrest?” Make sure you ask for a lawyer and say nothing more.
- Remain Silent. Refuse to answer. You have the right to say no.
- Tell the police that you want your Lawyer. You have the right to representation. Whether you have done something wrong or not, you have the right to an attorney and to your day in court, should you desire to do so. Until you have spoken to someone who knows the law and represents YOUR interests, you shouldn’t speak about any of it – guilty or not.
Asking for an attorney may raise some eyebrows, but innocent people use lawyers frequently. You are not a legal professional. There is no issue with asserting your right to counsel, that most basic of rights, and receiving proper advice before speaking further.
Are you speaking to police about a criminal matter directly without counsel? Do you have concerns about a particular criminal case? If you or someone you love has been charged with a crime, contact us. Attorney David Crawford has the experience and knows exactly where to start. Contact Us Today to get started.