Can You Ask for a Lawyer during Interrogation | Here’s the Real Answer?


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Can you ask for a lawyer during interrogation? During the police investigation, there are times where the suspect questions that seem irrelevant to the crime investigation. In these cases, a defendant may try to get out of answering certain questions by claiming he wants to consult his attorney before responding.

A judge has ruled that a person can refuse to answer questions under oath if they want to speak to their lawyer first, even if they don’t have one. This ruling is set on a precedent set back in 1892 when the court decided that someone who wanted to consult a lawyer before testifying could claim privilege against self-incrimination.

Can You Ask For A Lawyer During Interrogation?

Can You Ask for a Lawyer during Interrogation | Here’s Real Answer

In most places, yes! However, in some countries, the government might forbid having an attorney present during interrogations. Those laws exist to protect people who their governments have mistreated.

If you experience this, you should contact a foreign consulate or embassy and tell them what has happened. The (U.S) United States Department maintains a list of consular officials.

Refusing to testify against you

In the U.S., it’s illegal to arrest someone for invoking their right not to incriminate themselves. The U.S. Supreme Court said this rule applies whether they have a lawyer present. However, if the person invokes their Fifth Amendment rights and refuses to answer any questions, they might be charged with contempt of court.

Why do courts allow people to use “I’d like to talk to my lawyer” as an excuse to avoid answering questions?

The law says that if someone makes a blanket request for counsel during questioning, they’re entitled to stop talking until their lawyer is present. There’s no requirement that the police allow them time to make such a request. If the police refuse, though, the defendant can challenge the decision at trial.

If a criminal suspects that he will prosecute, he can demand a lawyer at any point during the police interview. However, if the police already know that the criminal is guilty, he cannot expect to remain silent indefinitely. Once the police collect enough evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt, they can compel him to give testimony against himself.

Police refused to let the suspect call his lawyer

Can You Ask for a Lawyer during Interrogation | Here’s Real Answer

Some notable legal precedents have involved situations where the police won’t allow a suspect to contact a lawyer. In 1985, the (U.S) United States Supreme Court ruled that a man consulted with an attorney while interrogated. However, the police were still allowed to question him without having an attorney present.

However, in 1987, the Supreme Court reversed itself and held that a person must always be given an attorney during questioning. So, if the police won’t allow you to get a lawyer, you should insist on talking to your lawyer immediately.

Miranda Right

It depends. Many states require a person to advise on their Miranda rights before asking about serious crimes. But many other states say that people can be asked questions about minor offenses without giving them those warnings.

For example, in California, a person can be asked about petty theft if they aren’t in custody. And in New York, a person doesn’t need to be warned before the question about misdemeanors.

So, if you want to prevent yourself from getting detained by the police, it’s best to stick to the rules. If they suspect you of a misdemeanor, you probably don’t need to say anything.

Rights to Silence

Yes, but it’s important to understand what you’re doing when you do so. It’s generally considered rude to keep refusing to cooperate with the police. You could also risk ending up in jail because the police may decide to bring charges against you anyway.

Police officers usually respect the fact that you’ve planned based on your conscience. They’ll try to persuade you to change your mind later. Even if you feel strongly that you should never talk to the police again, there are ways to decline further interviews politely.

You could tell the officer that you’ve changed your mind and that you would prefer to leave now. Or you could agree to go along with whatever they suggest. This way, you’ll be able to walk away without causing trouble.

But if you want to exercise your legal right to silence, you’ll need to make sure that you’re not going to be arrested or charged with a crime. Otherwise, you can’t compel to testify against yourself.

Time to talk to my lawyer

The amount of time you must speak to a lawyer depends on where you live and how long it takes to get one. Some cities are more accommodating than others. For instance, in Los Angeles, lawyers are reachable within 24 hours after arrest. By contrast, it can take months before appointing a lawyer in Boston.

Generally, though, the longer you wait to talk to a lawyer, the less likely it is that you’ll be able to use your right to silence.

Suspicious to ask for a lawyer

It is not suspicious, but you won’t face criminal charges unless they believe you were involved in a serious crime. It’s unlikely that you’d be allowed to invoke your right to silence in such cases. Most states require suspects to participate in a lineup or other identification procedure as soon as possible.

Some states allow you to invoke your right to remain silent while undergoing these procedures. Others require you to waive it. Either way, it’s usually wise to follow the instructions given to you by the police. Not necessarily. As noted above, the law doesn’t guarantee you the right to silence. So, you can stop answering questions at any point.

However, if you told the police something incriminating, you obviously can’t retract it. So even if you think that everything you told them was false, you can’t pretend that you didn’t say anything. Also note that, once you start talking to the police, you can’t stop until you finish giving testimony. If you do stop, you could end up facing additional charges.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the Constitution 100% guarantee me the right to remain silent?

No, it does not. The Fifth Amendment says nothing about remaining silent. Instead, it only guarantees that no person will be forced to incriminate themselves. If you refuse to answer questions, the police can still arrest you for contempt of court. And if you lie to the police, they can charge you with perjury.

What’s the difference between an attorney and a lawyer?

An attorney is someone whose job is to help you understand the law. A lawyer is someone who specializes in helping you navigate the legal system. They often represent clients in court-related matters.

Most attorneys also offer advice on personal matters like wills and estates. However, some attorneys specialize in representing types of clients. Choosing an attorney carefully is important—you don’t want to hire a bad one.

Does asking for a lawyer imply guilt?

Yes, but not always. Some jurisdictions interpret requests for counsel as implying that the suspect wants to confess. Other jurisdictions consider them ambiguous, requiring police officers to ask clarifying questions before taking further action.

If the officer starts making threats, you can insist that he stop threatening you and just read your rights. You might also mention that you’re getting the detention without cause, which would give you the right to request a lawyer. Once again, though, you’ll probably get better results if you keep things simple.

Does asking for a lawyer incriminate you?

Yes. According to Miranda v. Arizona, when you ask for a lawyer, the police must inform you of your rights before questioning you. It ensures that you are not coerced into making statements.

But there are exceptions. For example, if you’re someone questions during a traffic stop, the officer isn’t required to provide you with this information. Nor are you entitled to a lawyer if you are arrested outside the presence of police.

What happens after you request a lawyer?

Once you’ve asked for a lawyer, the interview should come to a halt. Law enforcement agencies prohibit you from continuing questioning once you request counsel.

It means that they cannot use any evidence obtained after you requested representation against you in court. Likewise, they cannot use any statement made by you after requesting counsel in their case against you.

In most circumstances, the police will take you home or release you. However, they may charge you with a crime. 

Asking for a lawyer isn’t enough to protect you. You also need to invoke your right to counsel.


To sum up, asking a lawyer during interrogation is not illegal. But it does indicate that you want a lawyer. And since you’re under arrest, the police are free to continue questioning. So how do you decide and know whether to ask for a lawyer?

The answer depends on what you said during the interrogation. If you confessed, then you shouldn’t ask for a lawyer. However, if you merely expressed doubt about yourself, or denied involvement in the crime, then you must at least inquire about the possibility of getting a lawyer.


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