Imagine being detained by police. You are brought to the police station in handcuffs, and ultimately fingerprinted. Then you are taken to a room where a young lady is sitting at a table. The police officer tells you to sit down. The lady then explains that she is a State's Attorney and not your lawyer. This is very important because this lady is not your lawyer and you should immediately request the opportunity to speak with your family attorney or a public defender. Give your name but politely remain silent.
What To Do If A Police Officer Tells You That He Can Help You If You Sign A Statement.
Once in the room with the State's attorney you may be given sheets of paper already filled out by the State's Attorney. You may be asked to read the paper by the State's Attorney, but you do not have to. The police officer may tell you that he can help you if you sign the statement. You have a right to speak to an attorney and you are not required to sign any statement prepared by the State's Attorney or the police officer. You have a right to exercise your right to remain silent, and request an attorney. Remember, the State's Attorney is not there for you.
Have An Attorney, Just In Case!
Having a family attorney whom you can contact in case of an emergency is smart. Be prepared, just in case. If you are detained and brought to a police station, give the police officer your lawyer's name and request the opportunity to call him or her. If you are refused an opportunity to make a phone call, be polite and remain silent. Don't sign any paperwork and don't talk to the State's Attorney. Try to remember the name and star number of the police officer. Eventually you will be taken to court, if you are not released before that. Let the judge know that you want to talk to your lawyer.
Additional resources provided by the author
Black Women's Law Association
Cook County Bar Association
American Bar Association
Cook County Law Library