General Question

shilolo's avatar

As a suspect in a crime, can it ever be detrimental to get a lawyer involved?

Asked by shilolo (18038points) October 20th, 2008

Before anyone gets the wrong idea, nothing has happened to me. I am just curious about the idea that if you are 100% innocent and have nothing to hide, would you need a lawyer still to “protect” you from nefarious police tactics? Conversely, does “lawyering-up“convey a message that you do have something to hide?

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19 Answers

scamp's avatar

I don’t think so. Hiring a lawyer is a good way to be sure your rights aren’t stepped on, and doesn’t mean you have anything to hide.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

You should always get a lawyer. The rules of the system are terribly complicated,

robmandu's avatar

The cop dramas always portray someone “lawyering up” as a sign of something to hide, possibly guilt. But I think that’s just Hollywood.

poofandmook's avatar

It might convey a message of guilt, but really, I think that all depends on the perception of the investigator involved. That doesn’t mean the suspect shouldn’t have one anyway, and think of it as an “innocence coach” instead of a lawyer.

richardhenry's avatar

I’ve never interpreted someone seeking legal aid to be an indicator of guilt. The people prosecuting you are very skilled and will be able spin the situation in whichever way is most likely to nail you down. Without a lawyer, you probably don’t stand a chance no matter how innocent you are.

Judi's avatar

Maybe I’m just paranoid, but I have told everyone who knows me that I have watched enough crime movies and TV that if I am ever suspected of anything I will never talk to the police without a lawyer. I also had a nephew who was totally railroaded when his ex beat HIM up. They are so “conviction” focused that they are often not interested in the truth, only in closing a case.

deaddolly's avatar

I would get a lawyer just becasue they know more about the ins/outs more than you would. I’m a firm beleiver in Murphy’s law.

richardhenry's avatar

@deaddolly: That reminds me, I absolutely love the photo attached to the Wikipedia article for Murphy’s Law. Points at upside down toast. “Murphy’s Law in action.”

skfinkel's avatar

Yes. it would seem judicious to get a lawyer for any situation in which a crime is involved.

deaddolly's avatar

@richardhenry Yes! Seriously, it’s amazing how appropriate thay saying is!!

tonedef's avatar

Not to beat a dead unicorn, but I wanted to make sure that someone explicitly said that hiring an attorney can in no way be the basis for a probable cause determination.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Well it can be detrimental to your wallet.

rss's avatar

If you are a suspect in a crime talking to a lawyer (court appointed at least if you don’t have the $$) is important. Not only to “protect” you from the other side during interrogations or what have you, but also to ensure that you file the appropriate paper work (motions to exclude evidence, requests for discovery etc) and do it on time. In most instances the legal system is (unfortunately?) too technical for those without training.

If you are a witness or some other peripheral person, a lawyer is probably not necessary.

I don’t think lawyering up means you have something to hide – it is an established part of our system not a tool for the guilty.

jvgr's avatar

Lots of innocent people end up in the prison system even with a lawyer. Not having one would not be advisable. If a person is charged, the system has a vested interest in prosecuting that person; they don’t tend to keep their options open and all attention is focused on proving guilt.

battlemarz's avatar

You should never say a word to police without a lawyer if they are questioning you about a crime even if you are completely innocent. If you have a half hour watch these videos that boingboing posted a while ago, I found it interesting.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@richardhenry its better when you attach the toast to a cat

richardhenry's avatar

@uberbatman Huge lol.

Judi's avatar

those are great videos!

cyndyh's avatar

Those are great videos. I’d also suggest watching the documentary called The Thin Blue Line. It’s enough to make you think twice about justice. Scary stuff.

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