Right to Counsel

If you have been arrested or if you are under investigation, do not speak to police or investigators until you have consulted with a criminal defense lawyer. You have the right to effective counsel to assist in your defense, and you have the absolute right to remain silent in the face of police questioning.

You may want to explain your side of things or try to help yourself - there are some situations where this is the right thing to do, but never before you have consulted a criminal defense attorney. If you are being questioned by police, they are probably not trying to help you; they are gathering evidence to use against you.

Many police are trained in how to interrogate and obtain a confession from you. They can and often do lie to you about evidence that they have or statements that they have from witnesses or co-defendants. They might minimize the seriousness of the charges, tell you that they understand why you did it, tell you that they only want information on another person, or tell you things will go easier on you if you talk to them. Some interrogation techniques used by law enforcement have been proven to result in false confessions.

Once you request an attorney, law enforcement should stop asking questions. If they do not, keep requesting an attorney and say nothing else until they stop talking to you. Do not let a law enforcement officer tell you that you do not need a lawyer - insist on your constitutional right to counsel. If you have already talked with law enforcement - STOP, until you have consulted with an attorney.

We must insist on exercising our rights under the constitution - the right not to incriminate ourselves, the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, the right to effective assistance of counsel, the right to proof beyond a reasonable doubt, and the right to a trial by jury. If we do not insist on exercising our rights under the constitution, and if attorneys do not insist on enforcing our rights under the constitution, our rights under the constitution will continue to be eroded until they are no more.