You have the right to an attorney during a criminal investigation, but at what point can you invoke this right? It’s not as cut and dry as you might think. Today, we’re going to explain when you can talk with a lawyer, and when you should talk to a lawyer, if you are pulled over for drunk driving.
When To Talk To A Lawyer
In a recent blog post, we shared five instances when you should hire a lawyer. Below, we’re going to explain when during the criminal investigation you should exercise that right.
Under Minnesota law, motorists or pedestrians have the right to contact a lawyer once the criminal investigation has reached what’s known as a critical stage. There is no specific set of circumstances that define a critical stage, but most officers will not allow you to speak with a lawyer until you’ve had the first citizen-officer interaction. For example, if a police officer pulls you over and approaches your driver’s side window, and the first thing you say is “I’m not talking until I talk to my lawyer,” the officer probably won’t let you contact them until you’ve first spoken with the officer about why you were stopped and your information is collected.
During a DUI traffic stop, the critical stage is a little easier to define. A DUI investigation is considered to be in a critical stage if the officer asks you to participate in field sobriety testing. At this point, you should be allowed to contact an attorney and ask any questions you might have. Police are supposed to grant the individual a “reasonable” amount of time to speak with their lawyer, so get straight to the point and make sure all your questions are answered fairly quickly.
It is important that you know when you can and should contact a lawyer, because police officers aren’t going to go out of their way to encourage you to speak to a lawyer. After all, they are trying to build a criminal case against you, and a lawyer isn’t operating in their best interests. Some officers may even try to convince you that it is suspicious that you want to talk to a lawyer and that there shouldn’t be a problem if you have nothing to hide, but don’t fall for their tricks. As an American citizen, you have the right to legal counsel during the course of a criminal investigation, so don’t be afraid of the perception it may be giving off. You are entitled to legal counsel, and you shouldn’t be shamed or looked down upon for invoking those rights.
If you’re like most people, you’ll probably have your smartphone on you at the time of the criminal investigation. You are permitted to use your phone to look up a lawyer and to call one of your choosing. If you need legal help in the Twin Cities area, give Avery Appelman and his team a call at (952) 224-2277. We pick up the phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so you only need one call to get all the answers you need.
Don’t fall victim to police tactics. Invoke your rights to legal counsel today.