Your Right to An Attorney
The 6th Amendment guarantees the right to an attorney during custodial interrogations, arraignment, preliminary hearings, at trial, and when the suspect is placed in a physical lineup AFTER charges have been filed. If you are confused about what the term “custodial interrogation” means, I will briefly explain. A custodial interrogation occurs when the police have you in custody (or in a position where you do not believe you are free to leave), and they ask you questions to obtain an incriminating response. If you ever find yourself in this position, ask for an attorney and say nothing more!
Once you invoke your right to an attorney, you cannot be questioned about the crime without your lawyer being present. If law enforcement elicits an admission after the suspect invokes their right to an attorney, then your Fairfax criminal defense attorney can file a motion to suppress the illegally obtain admission. However, if the suspect takes the stand during trial to testify on their own behalf, then the prosecution may use the admission against the defendant – even if the admission was obtained in violation of the defendant’s 6th Amendment right to an attorney. That is one of the many reasons why criminal defense lawyers generally encourage their clients not to take the stand.
It is the Police’s Job to Trick You into Saying Something You Didn’t Mean
Something I can never emphasize enough, and something you should never forget, it is that you never want to speak with law enforcement without an attorney present. Without invoking your right to an attorney, there will be no one to from the police using your statements against you or asking you questions which are intended to trap you into saying something you didn’t mean.
You see, lawyers and law enforcement are well-trained in the art of twisting people’s words and then using those words against them. If you receive a call from the police, do not answer their questions. Hang up the phone and call an attorney! We understand that you want to tell the police your side of the story. But because any statements you make can and will be used as evidence against you, you should only tell your side of the story through your Fairfax criminal lawyer. Without you even realizing it, seemingly innocuous or irrelevant admissions can be used to corroborate charges against you. But if you have an attorney speaking on your behalf, those statements cannot be used against you because it is not you, but your lawyer, who is speaking.
When to Hire a Fairfax Criminal Defense Attorney
When you have been charged or arrested, you have the right to an attorney – the public defender. However, the court will not provide you with appointed counsel until your first court date. But in the interim, there is just too much at stake to not have an attorney by your side to fight for you. Indeed, having your attorney present during questioning is just as important as having an attorney by your side during court proceedings. It is for this reason why it is critically important that you hire a Fairfax criminal defense attorney long before this – while the investigation is ongoing and prior to charges being filed.
As a point of emphasis, many of people charged with crimes believe that they cannot afford an attorney, but in most cases, an affordable Fairfax criminal defense attorney can provide you with pre-filing representation. The truth is, hiring a lawyer prior to charges being filed or very shortly thereafter can have the effect of getting the police to realize that they may have the wrong suspect. Likewise, your Virginia criminal lawyer will pinpoint the potential weaknesses in the evidence that might eventually be presented to the Commonwealth’s attorney for filing consideration.
We Guarantee Full Attention and Personal Service to Each of Our Clients
As a matter of law, every person is entitled to the effective assistance of counsel. At the Law Offices of Randall Sousa, we intentionally handle a low volume of cases – and will turn down potential clients – in order to guarantee that we provide the full attention our clients deserve. In order for us to do our job to the very best of our ability, we must conduct a comprehensive investigation of the facts, examine all possible motions which can be filed, and identify precisely what our clients’ objectives are so that we can do everything in our power to achieve those objectives.
With that said, it is important to understand that there is a drastic difference between the lawyer who flips through a police report and the lawyer who actually conducts a physical inspection of the crime scene, identifies witnesses, cameras, and surveillance equipment, and utilizes the court’s subpoena power to defend the charges against you. With all due respect to the many great criminal defense attorneys out there, the profession of criminal defense is replete with lousy attorneys as well. These attorneys are not passionate about criminal defense work and protecting their clients’ rights. Instead, they simply are interested in taking your money. Any good Fairfax criminal lawyer will agree that public defenders, as well as many private criminal defense attorneys, are overworked and spread too thin to provide the aggressive, high-caliber level of defense that people truly deserve.
If you believe that you failed to receive effective legal assistance during your criminal trial, contact the Law Offices of Randall Sousa to speak with a Virginia appeals attorney who can provide you more information on whether you might be able to have your conviction overturned on appeal.
Other Articles on Your Constitutional Rights
- Your Right to Remain Silent
- What is Considered a “Search”?
- Vehicle Searches
- Stop and Frisk Searches
- Never Consent to Searches
- Suppressing Evidence Under the Exclusionary Rule
- Know Your Rights
Contact a Virginia Criminal Lawyer Today
If you are being investigated or questioned by law enforcement, you need to exercise your 6th Amendment right to an attorney. If you have already been arrested or charged, it is even more important that you have an aggressive Virginia criminal lawyer to represent you. Choose a Fairfax Criminal Defense Attorney with the passion, knowledge, and dedication to help you obtain the best possible outcome in your criminal case. Contact the Law Offices of Randall Sousa now for a Free Consultation. 517-354-6164
Virginia Inmate Search
Fairfax County Adult Detention Center
Fairfax County Police Department
Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office
Fairfax County General District Court
Fairfax County Circuit Court
By: Randall Sousa