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You Have The Right To An Attorney

Part of the famous “Miranda warning” is the right to an attorney. It is usually phrased in this way: “You have the right to have an attorney present during questioning. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.” What does that really mean, and what are your rights regarding an attorney when you are arrested?

You Have The Right To Speak To An Attorney

Along with the right to remain silent, the Constitution affords you the right to speak to an attorney before you answer any questions asked of you by the police. This right exists to avoid self-incrimination; if you choose to answer questions without an attorney present, those answers may then be used against you at a later time. If you are arrested, it is almost always better to simply avoid answer questions until you speak to your attorney. This applies even if you are innocent and have nothing to hide. While it may seem counterintuitive to remain silent when you are being questioned by the police, it is important to remember that many innocent people have been harassed and even charged by the police for statements that they made. You simply do not know how your words will be perceived, so it is better to wait for your lawyer before answering questions. However, it is also important to remember that while you have the right to speak with your attorney, the police have the right to hold you for a certain amount of time before allowing you to communicate with your lawyer. In some places, the police can hold you up to 48 hours before they must charge you, so you may wind up spending the weekend in jail if you insist on speaking with an attorney. Be prepared for this, and do not let it cause you to waver in your decision to remain silent.

An Attorney Will Be Appointed For You

If you cannot afford an attorney as determined by the means test applied by the jurisdiction where you are arrested, you may be offered the services of a public defender. While public defenders are attorneys and are dedicated to their clients, they often have heavy caseloads that prohibit them spending much time with individual clients. You may wish, instead, to hire your own attorney. The criminal defense attorneys at the Oswalt Law Group in Phoenix are here to help. Call today to discuss your case.

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