Say you’re having a bad day and end up being questioned or detained by police (okay, so it’s a really bad day). You’re debating on whether you should use the go-to phrase of every bad cop show on TV. “I want a lawyer.” However, maybe you hesitate because you’re worried hiring a lawyer will make you look guilty to the police. Well, we’re going to quote a line from Better Call Saul:
“Actually, it’s getting arrested that makes people look guilty, even the innocent ones. And innocent people get arrested every day.”
Criminal Defense Lawyers Protect Your Rights
When police say “only guilty people need lawyers,” they are wrong. When you opt to speak for yourself without a lawyer present, you run the risk of incriminating yourself, even when you’re just trying to be helpful. More often than not, police just want to close a case with an arrest and they have almost unlimited authority to lie in order to get a confession.
It is a criminal defense lawyer’s job to stop you from falling for these lies and accidentally talking your way into a statement that can be used against you (which is surprisingly easy to to). So, if you’re being questioned by the police and are asked “if you have nothing to hide, why would you need a lawyer,” the correct response is “I need a lawyer to answer that question for me.”
Moreover, judges and prosecutors would rather deal with a lawyer than you. Criminal defense lawyers are more efficient and know how to better navigate the system, know the offenses, understand statutes, procedures and the language.
Hiring a Lawyer Makes You Look Smart, Not Guilty
More often than not, if police are speaking to you, it is because they already believe you’re guilty. That said, the best thing you can do for yourself is hire a lawyer to protect your rights. Whether you’ve been stopped for a traffic violation or brought into the police station for a more serious alleged crime, you should say as little as possible. Exercising your rights to remain silent and consult an attorney are not grounds for an inference of guilt.
“’You don’t need a lawyer, only guilty people need lawyers’, and BOOM! That’s when it all goes south. That’s when you want someone in your corner, someone who will fight tooth and nail. Lawyers. We’re like health insurance. You hope you never need it, but man, oh, man, not having it? No!” – Saul Goodman