Right To Counsel & Right to Remain Silent

hawaii-legal-rightsThe United States Constitution as well as the Hawaii State Constitution protects you upon contact with any law enforcement agency. The following is a discussion of your right to an attorney and your right to a lawyer before making a statement to any law enforcement agency.

You have the right to remain silent and a right to an attorney. Please understand that you cannot be compelled to discuss anything potentially incriminating with the police. You should exercise that right. Anything you say will be used against you. Remember, the police are investigating allegations of criminal conduct. They believe that you are responsible for that conduct. Nothing you can say will assist you in your legal defense or will help you in the long run. As a criminal defense lawyer, I have never had a client’s statement to the police result in the police choosing not to charge the client with a crime. At trial no one is permitted to know that you chose to remain silent. There is no downside to remaining silent and demanding an attorney.

There are two possible scenarios:

  1. The police have a suspicion that you may have committed a crime but they do not have sufficient evidence to charge you. They are trained to get a confession from you if you choose to speak to them. Your statement may be the final piece to their puzzle and may result in your conviction. Remember there are no statements that are off the record. Anything you say will be used against you.
  2. The police have enough evidence to charge you. They want to get a confession to bolster their case. Again remember they will use this statement against you.

The police are permitted to lie about the evidence they have against you. For instance, they can tell you that they have a positive identification of you, or a fingerprint, or DNA even if they do not have that evidence. While the ethical ramifications are debatable there is no doubt that this practice has been held to be legal by our Courts.

You do not need to wait until the police read you your “Miranda Wamings” to assert your right
to an attorney and to assert your right to remain silent. When your are arrested tell the police: (1) “I want a lawyer” and (2) “I want to remain silent.”

These rights may not apply to the police obtaining physical evidence from you including requesting a breath, blood or urine sample in an DUI-OUI investigation.

This is a general discussion of your right to an attorney and to remain silent. The facts and circumstances surrounding each case must be evaluated to determine when those rights may be asserted.

Please call me if you need advise regarding these rights. We can discuss all of your constitutional rights, as they apply to your case, in a free confidential initial consultation.