LAWYER JOKES ASIDE, YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO ONE ONCE YOU ARE DETAINED AND PRIOR TO QUESTIONING
You never have to talk to police, except to provide your name in certain circumstances but sometimes we need to talk to police because we are victims of a crime or need their protection. Many people do not realize that when that
purpose ends, so should your police contact. People encounter police through a
variety of situations. Most police officers follow the law and are there to protect you. They serve honorably and deserve respect for their devotion to an often difficult job. There are also situations when you may encounter a police officer who either does not understand the law or intentionally disregards it. It is important for you to know your rights. Here are some tips to make any encounter end on a positive note.
Keep in mind that while you have certain rights as a person in the United States, sometimes you need to be practical to avoid problems; especially when confronted by law enforcement. When the process you are in shifts from investigatory to accusatory—when its focus is on you as the accused and its purpose is to elicit a confession—the adversary system begins to operate, and, the accused, upon request must be permitted to consult with a lawyer. Escobedo v. State of Illinois, 378 U.S. 478, 84 S.Ct. 1758, 12 L.Ed.2d 977 (1964). This case paved the way for holding in Miranda v. State of Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694, 10 A.L.R.3d 974 (1966) that required police to tell a person about that right.
While you do not have to shout your love for lawyers from the rooftops, you must clearly state you want a lawyer before you answer any question in order for the police to have to stop questioning you. Davis v. United States, 512 U.S. 452, 114 S.Ct. 2350, 129 L.Ed.2d 362 (1994), Edwards v. Arizona, 451 U.S. 477, 101 S.Ct. 1880, 68 L.Ed.2d 378 (1981). Very often, police will continue to ask questions or they may resort to other coercive tactics in an attempt to get you to talk. Once a person begins to answer questions it becomes extremely difficult to stop. The moral of this story is: Do not start. You are your own worst enemy. Police tactics will be taken up in another blog.
Remember “loose lips sink ships!”