If you are being investigated for criminal charges, interrogated by police, or you have already been placed under arrest, you have important legal rights. Here are two key rights that anyone facing criminal allegations should understand:
- Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: You have a right to remain silent. You are not required to answer post-arrest questions.
- Six Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: You have the right to an attorney in a criminal case.
While the U.S. Constitution provides strong protections, you must actively invoke your right to an attorney. In this article, our Mankato criminal defense lawyer explains what you should know about how you invoke your right to an attorney.
Know the Law: Invoking Your Right to an Attorney
In 1994, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a critically important decision on a criminal defendant’s right to an attorney. In the case of Davis v. U.S., the nation’s highest court ruled that a defendant who wants to invoke their right to legal representation must make an “unambiguous or unequivocal request for counsel.”
In other words, saying something like “I should probably talk to a lawyer” or “maybe I need a lawyer” is likely not good enough in the eyes of the law. To invoke your right to a lawyer as a criminal defendant, you need to be crystal clear. Do not leave any room for misinterpretation. Politely state that you will not answer any further questions without an attorney.
Why is it So Important to Invoke Your Right to a Criminal Defense Attorney?
When you have been accused of a crime, are being actively interrogated, or have already been arrested, you are a suspect. At this point in the process, the police are not on your side. It is their job to investigate the case and secure information to prove your guilt. Anything that you say to an officer—even something seemingly innocuous—can be used against you in court. A Mankato, MN criminal defense lawyer will ensure that your rights are protected every step of the way.
What Happens if Police Ignore Your Clear and Unambiguous Request for a Lawyer?
Once you have made a clear and unambiguous request for a lawyer, the police are supposed to stop the interrogation. If they fail to do so in violation of your rights under the Sixth Amendment (right to counsel), you may be able to challenge any “evidence” that they have obtained in the unlawful portion of your interview/interrogation. You could potentially get further statements and related evidence thrown out of court. If you believe that your rights were violated due to continued questioning after you requested a lawyer, contact an experienced defense attorney right away.
Contact Our Southern Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
At Kohlmeyer Hagen, Law Office Chtd., our Mankato criminal defense lawyer is a skilled, aggressive advocate for justice. If you were placed under arrest, you have the right to legal counsel. We are ready to protect your interests. Contact us today at 507-625-5000 for a strictly confidential consultation with a top defense attorney. From our Mankato law office, we provide criminal defense representation in Southern Minnesota, including in Blue Earth, Nicollet, and Le Sueur counties.