I cannot afford a lawyer….Will one be appointed for me?

Sean C. O’Halloran Aiken and O’Halloran Criminal Defense Law Office Fort Myers 239-334-8890 Sarasota 941-366-3506

February 7 2020

I cannot afford a lawyer….Will one be appointed for me?

On television shows you hear the police advising people of their rights saying “and if you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you.  It is on the Miranda card that you see police reading to people.  Well, television is not reality and most of the time, the cops do nothing to get you a lawyer at the most critical time you need one…before they question you.

If you are under investigation or think you are going to get arrested you need to talk to a criminal defense attorney before you even think about talking to law enforcement.  The Public Defender does not get appointed until you are already arrested, booked and going before a judge. By then, they may have already gotten a confession or an admission out of you.  Most criminal defense lawyers do not charge for a free confidential consultation.

This is particularly true when it comes to sex investigations or leaving the scene of an accident investigation.  The police need your admission as the final link in their case.  Nothing good comes of waiving your right to remain silent and talking to the police.  You will not talk your way out of an arrest.  The police do not have to advise you of your rights until you are in custody and by then it is too late.

Talking to a criminal defense attorney before you are contacted by the police is absolutely critical.  We run into this all the time in Child pornography investigations and cases.  The police come with a search warrant.  They will take the suspect to a police SUV in the front yard where they secretly video tape a questioning.  They then ask things like “who had access to the computer”, “who else lives here”,  “Have you ever used Bittorrent or Utorrent or a peer to peer file sharing program”?  Sometimes they do not make the kiddie porn arrest that day and merely take the computers for future forensic examination. 

Never speak without an attorney present.  Never voluntarily give up your computer unless they have a warrant.  Never give up passwords or anything until you get legal advice.  When it comes to sex crimes and sex crime investigations, the police questioning, and a person’s answers may well be the most important part of the case.  You may be facing serious prison time if you have downloaded or watched child porn.  You can get charged either in State Court or Federal Court for Internet solicitation of a minor.  An admission that you were the one sitting at the computer is often the missing link the police need.

Do not be bullied into talking.  Lawyer up and keep your mouth shut….