If you are approached by a law enforcement officer to give a statement, asserting your right to counsel is one of the most important things you can do to help protect yourself, whether innocent or guilty. As soon as possible after invoking your right to counsel, you should call a New Jersey criminal defense attorney to discuss your situation. If you do not clearly and unambiguously assert your right to speak with an attorney, law enforcement officers do not have to stop questioning you. The longer that questioning goes on, the more likely it is that they will obtain evidence against you, again whether or not you are innocent.
When Should I Say That I Want to Speak with an Attorney?
The courts have established that the right to speak with an attorney only applies when you are “in custody” (arrested or not free to leave) and being interrogated. If you were arrested and they are asking questions, it is likely that will read you the required Miranda warnings. After this warning you should immediately say “I do not want to answer your questions. I want to speak with a lawyer.” You must be very clear in your request for an attorney. After asserting your right to a lawyer, the police cannot continue asking questions. If you inadvertently make an incriminating statement after asserting your rights, you will want to ask your New Jersey criminal defense attorney about your options for excluding the statement from evidence.
What If the Police Ask Me about a Different Crime?
If you have asserted your right to counsel, police are not allowed to ask about other crimes because the 5th amendment right to counsel is not offense specific. Prior to being charged, the 5th amendment right to counsel forbids police from asking about any offense. If they have violated this right, you need to fully explain what happened to an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney.
Contact a New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney
Regardless of the charges you are facing, a skilled New Jersey criminal defense attorney can make sure your rights are protected. At The Law Offices of Timothy R. Anderson, LLC, we have years of experience fighting the most serious federal and state charges. Call (732) 212-2812 today for an initial consultation.