Does Asking For A Lawyer Make Me Look Guilty?

When you are approached by law enforcement – either in the form of local police or state or federal investigators and prosecutors – to speak about matters you or may or may not have been involved in, you might try to remember all the things you’ve heard about your constitutional rights as they are often described in television shows and movies. You might recall that police are required to read you your Miranda rights prior to a “custodial interrogation.” But you may not know what that really means, and the fact of the matter is that police often get the information they need to make an arrest before they are required to read you your Miranda rights. As you face law enforcement, you are probably wishing you had a lawyer by your side (and if you’re not, you should be), but also wondering if you have a right to one or whether asking for one makes you look guilty to police. Below, we take a brief look at these questions.

You Have a Right to a Lawyer Whenever You Speak to Police

Again, police are required to inform you of your right to an attorney when you are under custodial interrogation, but that refers to a specific type of situation in which you are not free to leave the police’s custody. Apart from that right to be informed of your rights, you also have the right to refuse to answer any questions posed to you by the police and to demand that they cease questioning until you have a lawyer present, whether or not you are subject to custodial interrogation. If the police do not cease questioning after you have asked for a lawyer, then any information they receive will not be admissible in court.

Asking For a Lawyer Makes You Look Smart, Not Guilty

“Okay,” you might ask, “but doesn’t asking for a lawyer make me look guilty?” Honestly, it’s impossible to say what any individual police officer might be thinking. But any person with a solid understanding of the law knows that innocent people go to jail all the time based on information that the police obtain without the presence of an attorney, and courts understand that asking for an attorney is by no means an admission of guilt. You are simply showing an awareness of your rights under the US Constitution, and expressing your desire to exercise the rights that the Founding Fathers thought were so important to our criminal justice system. Waiving those rights to the police might make their job easier, but it provides no benefit to you.

Work with Experienced Virginia Criminal Defense Attorneys

If you believe you are under investigation by law enforcement, talk to an experienced, Virginia criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to make sure that your rights are protected and your freedom is defended. To schedule a consultation with an experienced Virginia criminal defense attorney, contact Select Law Partners at 540.642.1766.

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Bennett Brasfield

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