Speaking With an Attorney in Atlanta
Merely exercising a person’s right to be represented by counsel during questioning is not an indication of guilt. Many times people will think that the best thing they can do is to continue talking to the police because they feel that asking for an attorney will indicate guilt, however, it will not.
Everything an individual says to the police can be used against them. Once an individual asks for an attorney, then the police are no longer allowed to question them until they are given access to an attorney.
If a person is ever questioned for any sort of serious crime, it is strongly recommend that they ask for an Atlanta defense attorney before answering any questions.
Right to Speak with an Attorney
A person has the right to speak with an attorney during most phases of an investigation with some limited exceptions. If an officer comes to a person’s house and wants to talk to them about a crime that the police believe the individual may have committed, every person can tell the law enforcement officials that they will not talk without an attorney.
However, if the police catch a person in the act of committing a crime, then they do not have the right to talk to an attorney until they complete their arrest and, quite often, the booking. This comes up most often in a DUI stop, someone is pulled over for perhaps speeding, the officer smells alcohol, and begins his DUI investigation. They do not have the right to talk to an attorney until the officer makes his decision to arrest or release the person.
The legal system is not perfect, innocent people will be arrested and, unfortunately, innocent people will be convicted and sent to prison. When talking to law enforcement officers who are investigating the case, remember that law enforcement officers are promoted and rewarded for the number of arrests that they make, not for the number of people they let go. They are looking to solve cases and close out their caseloads.
Therefore, things that an individual says might be misinterpreted or used as evidence of some other crime. It is essential that if a person is investigated for any sort of significant crime for which they can be arrested, they should seek the advice of counsel in Atlanta before talking to the police.
When speaking with an attorney for the first time, a person should make sure that the attorney understands that they are seeking legal advice, especially if talking to an attorney over the phone. In Georgia, law enforcement officials are using wiretapping more and more often and are listening to more and more phone calls. However, if a person makes it clear during a call that they are talking to an attorney for personal legal advice, then law enforcement is not supposed to listen to that call or use it as evidence in a probable cause arrest or at trial.
A person should also make sure they ask the attorney about the experience of that particular lawyer. Most importantly, they should ask if the attorney has handled the type of case that they are involved in, how many cases they have handled, what other types of cases they handle, and whether they have and regularly take criminal cases all the way through to a jury trial.
It is important to ask lots of questions, because if a person has a serious case, then they need a serious defense and a well-informed and experienced attorney.
When going to meet with the Atlanta criminal lawyer for the first time, a person should take any and all paperwork concerning the case that they have in order to provide the attorney with as much information as possible.
Discussing the Case
When a person speaks with a defense attorney for the purpose of receiving legal advice, they should remember that the attorney has a legal obligation not to divulge what they said. In other words, the attorney is required by law to keep what a defendant says secret.
The only exception to that is if a person tells the attorney about a crime they are going to commit in the future, the attorney is going to stop the person or take actions to report them in that limited case. However, anything an individual has done in the past—from speeding to murder—the attorney must keep secret. The attorney also has a duty to give the person the best possible advice that they can if they are going to advise the person.
Thus, when a person speaks with the attorney in private with no one else present, they should be honest and tell the attorney everything they know about their actions, anybody else’s actions, and the incident as a whole. The only way that the attorney can properly advise and defend a person is if the attorney knows all of the evidence.