Do I Really Need A Lawyer If I’m Innocent?
One word: YES.
There’s this concept out there that only guilty people need lawyers and that only people who have something to hide refuse to allow a search of their car or home upon the whim of a law enforcement request.
This is how innocent (and guilty) people go to jail.
This is dumb.
Your Have Rights That Are Guaranteed By The Constitution
Law enforcement put their lives on the line to do a job they don’t get paid nearly enough to do. Being kind, understanding, respectful of the officers and their position is not the same as sacrificing your Constitutional rights. You can be respectful and protect yourself as our forefathers intended! These concepts are not mutually exclusive.
The 4th Amendment protects all citizens against search and seizure without probable cause. Use this!
But Why Not Let Them Search My Car?
Grandma’s prescription might’ve fallen out of her purse and is sitting under your passenger seat (crime!). Your brother borrowed your car last week and his friend’s marijuana might be stashed between the seats (crime!). There might be absolutely nothing in your car, but you have the 4th Amendment. Say NO to a search of your house or your car by request of a law enforcement officer.
The Police Tell Me The Truth, Don’t They?
Police are allowed to lie to you. Sometimes it’s part of their job.
“I’ll get a search warrant,” they say.
“Okay, no problem. I’ll wait right here while you get one.” That’s what you should say.
How Can It Hurt To Just Talk To The Police?
The 6th Amendment guarantees you the right to counsel if you are detained. Do not give a statement or answer questions or make spontaneous comments without an attorney.
The police are trained to get information from you. Even though you are innocent but you admitted to being alone with the alleged victim just before he disappeared. Or you admitted to being the last person in (or walking by) the robbed house. You may deny the crime, but they may gather enough admissions from you that give them a circumstantial case to support charging you with a crime.
They might talk fast and confuse you! Then you admit something you didn’t mean to admit because you didn’t understand! You can’t take it back. When you do, you wind up giving contradicting statements that make you look guilty and impugn your credibility.
So What Should I Say To The Police?
Just like prisoners of war – name, rank and serial number – give only your name and attorney’s phone number to contact if arrested.
It’s not worth the risk.
If They Think You Did It, Make Them Prove It!
Even if you did do something you shouldn’t have, without an admission from you it may be very likely the police can’t prove you did it. Don’t hand them a conviction because you’re nervous or scared.
Just because you did it, doesn’t make you guilty.
The police have to prove it. Don’t prove it for them. Half the inmates in ADC are there because they talked to police without counsel.
This Little Story Makes The Point
I was the passenger in a car pulled over for not using a turn signal not too long ago. The driver was asked, and is required by law to provide, a driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance (of course!). We were blocked in by two police SUVs as though we might abscond across town.
I was approached by a second officer and asked for identification. I was just a passenger, not the driver, so I said “I don’t think you can do that, Officer!” He laughed and corrected me. “No ma’am. I can ask. You just don’t have to provide it.”
This is the point. The Constitution doesn’t stop law enforcement from asking or taking anything you’re willing to give them – evidence, contradicting statements – but it protects YOU from having to provide it. It is up to YOU to exercise the rights guaranteed to you by our forefathers, and fought for by millions of men and women to protect on a daily basis. Don’t squander your rights, or their sacrifices.
Call For A Free Case Evaluation
Case evaluations are completely free; our fees are flat and affordable. Call Leigh Law today at (501) 227-ROAR or Email Us to set up a free consultation.