Aug 3, 2023

How to tell police you want a lawyer present for questioning

Criminal Defense

One of the most well-known rights American citizens have when facing arrest is the right to remain silent. This right aims to prevent people from providing self-incriminating evidence to the police. 

You do need to provide basic information to the police. For example, if an officer pulls you over as you drive, then you need to provide your driver’s license and insurance information. In other circumstances, you will need to provide your name, questions regarding an accident you may have seen and your date of birth. When other questions come up, you have your rights, but it may be tough to avoid questioning, especially if the officers are persistent. 

Calmly refuse

While the police officers can appear intimidating, it is best to simply state you want your lawyer present before answering any further questions. The police may pressure you to cooperate, but you need to stand firm. 

Another consideration is whether to go with the police to the station. Naturally, if they formally arrest you, then you need to go. You also need to go if the authorities suspect you of a drug-related defense. When arrested for DUI, you will need to go to the station to submit to a blood test to check your blood alcohol concentration. In any other circumstance, you can refuse and say you want a lawyer before providing testimony at the station. 

Do not provide any evidence

The Supreme Court ruling in Raffel v. United States, the court found that once a person provides testimony or evidence to the police, the person cannot revoke that privilege later. People surrender their Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights once they begin to cooperate. 

Consider if staying silent looks suspicious

Not saying anything may look suspicious once the case goes to court. You may inadvertently look guilty if the cops say you were completely silent upon arrest. That is why you always want to clearly state, “I want to speak with my lawyer.”