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Don't overlook your right to have a lawyer with you

The right to have a lawyer present for questioning is something that almost everyone has probably heard about if they watch cop dramas or shows. This is presented in the Miranda rights warning that police officers give when they are arresting someone. Some people might not understand exactly what this right means.

When you are being questioned or arrested, the police officers are likely going to try to get answers out of you. The right to have counsel present is something that you must do. It isn't going to be done for you.

In fact, courts have started putting specific burdens on suspects when they are ready to invoke this right. You have to make your wish to have an attorney present very clear. You must make the wish known in a timely manner.

When you invoke your right to have an attorney present, you shouldn't leave any doubt about the invocation. Once you say that you want an attorney present, the questioning should stop. Even if it doesn't, you shouldn't answer any more questions.

You don't have to wait on the officers to read your Miranda rights to make it known that you want a lawyer present. Instead, you can make the statement as soon as you know that you are being questioned or that you are being arrested.

While it might seem like invoking this right would make it appear that you have something to hide, that isn't the case. Having a lawyer with you helps you to ensure that none of your rights are violated during the criminal justice process.

Source: FindLaw, "Invoking the Right to Counsel," accessed Nov. 10, 2016

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