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What to do if the police want to talk to me?

Lawyers handling criminal cases run into this problem every day, and the answer is simple:  don’t talk to the police without an attorney.  Just don’t.

Police never come just to “talk with you” if you are a possible criminal suspect.  They only come to see you to try and get you to admit you did something wrong, or-worse- to confess to a crime.

Any lawyer will tell you to never talk with the police without an attorney being present who represents you.  But here are two more things you should know:

  1. If you firmly ask for an attorney,  that makes the police stop asking questions. It stops them dead in their tracks. The words “I want a lawyer” are so powerful in our system of justice that just by saying them, the police can’t ask you any more questions.  The United States Supreme Court has even said it, in plain words:  “All questioning must stop” when the lawyer is requested.
  2. And the fact that you made the request to have an attorney present for questioning?  Nobody can ever bring that up in court.  So anybody people (jurors?) who thinks “He must have done it because he asked for a lawyer” will never be allowed to hear facts that show you asked for a lawyer.  It’s that simple.

There are very few things in the law that are as clear as this rule.  It has been the rule for a long time and it will continue to be the rule for a long time.  A person has rights, including the right to a lawyer.  Our system does not allow the prosecutor to talk about the fact that you used your rights by asking for a lawyer.  If they could do this, it would be punishing you for using your valuable right, and that is not allowed in our system of justice.

So please remember that every case is different, but ask for a lawyer whenever the police “have a few questions.”   Both you and your lawyer will be glad that you did!

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