“You have the right to a lawyer….”
It’s good to know that law enforcement officials are obligated to inform us of our right to legal counsel if we are arrested. But what they aren’t obligated to inform you of are the circumstances in which you should actually have that legal counsel present. In fact, in terms of building a case, it’s in their best interests if you don’t have that legal advisor present to advise you and make sure that your legal rights are protected.
If you ever find yourself in the unfortunate situation of being incarcerated, you shouldn’t hesitate to contact a criminal defense lawyer for the following reasons:
1. A Lawyer Can Protect You Against Self-Incrimination
Sure, they advise you of your rights, allow you a phone call, maybe even offer you a snack and a beverage. But arresting law enforcement officers are not on your side, and want to get incriminating information from you as soon as they can. But by contacting a lawyer as soon as possible after arrest, you are offered protection against self-incrimination. If you state your intention to only respond to questions in the presence of your lawyer, then you cannot be interrogated until legal representation is present. At that point, you’ll have an ally to advise you of your rights, and whether you should or shouldn’t answer questions.
2. Courtroom Appearance
Following arrest and booking, you’ll appear in court before a judge or magistrate. A plea will be entered for you, and bail will be discussed. While part of the magistrate’s job is to ensure that you understand your legal rights, that protection is limited. A lawyer, however, makes sure that the right plea is entered on your behalf. He or she can also argue for your release as the case proceeds. And in situations where bail is required, a good criminal lawyer can often get the amount reduced.
3. Legal Advocate
While defendants have the right to speedy arraignments, immediate legal representation, and other protections, they might not be aware of these rights or be able to protect themselves while incarcerated. Expert legal assistance on the “outside” can help to guarantee a faster arraignment process, among other protections.
4. Post-Arraignment Advisor
Being released on bail, unfortunately, doesn’t mean that your arrest is behind you or that law enforcement officials will leave you alone. They may want to conduct more interviews with you. Have you participate in a lineup. Or submit medical samples. Criminal defense lawyers Townsville can advise you as to what you do and don’t have to submit to and be present to protect your rights when you do.
5. Plea Bargain Or Trial
Despite what is seen on television, very few criminal cases result in a courtroom trial. Depending on the circumstances of the case, a plea bargain can sometimes be in the best interest of the defendant. An experienced criminal defense lawyer is the best party to review all information and advise clients as to which course to pursue here.