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Does Asking for a Lawyer Before Answering Police Questions Make me Look Guilty?

The first thing you should understand if the police are investigating a criminal matter is that a “friendly chat” with the police can often result in an arrest. Police officers often obtain the information they need to make an arrest before they are required to read someone their Miranda rights. Therefore, if the police are interviewing you because of a crime you may or may not be involved in, you must be incredibly careful when talking to the police.

A “friendly chat” to “clear things up” could result in your arrest and the information you provided to the police could hurt your defense. Instead of worrying about whether you may look guilty, you need to ask for your New York federal criminal defense attorney to ensure your legal rights are not being violated during questioning.

You Have the Right to Consult an Attorney Whenever You Talk to Law Enforcement Officials

The police are required to explain your Miranda rights if you are under custodial interrogation. Otherwise, they cannot use anything you say against you in court. However, custodial interrogation refers to a specific situation in which you are not free to leave police custody. In many cases, you may be free to leave, but the police officers are not going to tell you that you can leave. They want to get as much information from you as possible before they must explain your rights to you.

It is particularly important to remember that you may not be subject to custodial interrogation, but you are still entitled to consult with an attorney before answering any police questions. Therefore, when you ask for a New York criminal defense attorney, you are simply exercising your constitutional right to consult with an attorney.

Innocent People Go To Jail

The police are not always right and attempting to explain your side of the story may do more harm than good. When you are talking to the police, you are not aware of the rules of criminal procedure, the applicable case law, the criminal statutes involved in the matter, and the elements required to prove the crime that is being investigated. That is information that a New York criminal defense attorney understands.

However, if you do not ask for an attorney for fear of appearing guilty, you do not have the advantage of someone who understands the law protecting you from saying something that could incriminate you or harm your legal defense. A simple answer you provide a police officer during questioning could be the one thing that sends you to jail.

The Police May Lie to You, So Asking If You Need an Attorney is Pointless

The police officer may use deception to attempt to get you to answer questions. If you ask the police officer if you need an attorney, the officer is most likely going to turn the question back around and ask you if you think you need an attorney because you are guilty. To “prove” to the officer you are innocent, you agree to answer questions. This decision is a mistake!

Your silence cannot be used against you in court. If law enforcement officials want to ask you questions, even in your home, you have the right to consult with an attorney before answering any questions. It is your legal right, and it is the smart thing to do. All you need to do to exercise your constitutional right is to politely decline to answer any questions without consulting with an attorney.

You Must Ask for an Attorney

If you are in custody, you must ask for an attorney. You must verbalize your desire to speak with a New York criminal defense attorney. Therefore, you should respectfully inform the officer that you are invoking your right to remain silent and you want an attorney present during all questioning.

The officer should immediately cease asking any questions until your attorney is present. If the officer continues to pressure you to answer questions, remain steadfast in your response that you are remaining silent until you speak with an attorney.

Protect Yourself By Asking for a New York Criminal Defense Attorney

You have the constitutional right to remain silent. Protect yourself by exercising your legal right to consult with an attorney before you answer any police questions. The police officer may tell you that asking for an attorney will make you look guilty, but it actually makes you look smart because you are exercising your legal rights as a person who is innocent until proven guilty.

Contact the New York federal criminal defense attorneys at Sacco Tyner if you are facing federal criminal charges.

Posted in: Criminal Defense