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Do I need an attorney if I'm only suspect in a criminal mischief case?

Austin, TX |

I've received a call from the police department saying that I'm a suspect in a criminal mischief case and they need to ask me some questions over the phone. I feel as though I should just call the officer and explain that I had nothing to do with this situation (someone put poop on my ex girlfriend's car, my roommate can confirm I was home all night). However all the advice I've gotten is that I should get a lawyer because the cops may try to manipulate me somehow and I'll just get myself in trouble. It would be very difficult to get the money for an attorney so I'd like to avoid it if possible.

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Attorney answers 3


If you cannot afford an attorney (you might call a few in your area to see what they would charge in this situation), do not make any statements to the police at all. If they have enough evidence to arrest you, they will. And if you are indigent, you will qualify for a court appointed attorney. They are not "just trying to clear this up." They are trying to decide who to charge.

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I agree with Ms. Jaggers and will also state that the more they want to talk to you, the more they need your own words to charge you and/or convict you. Because you cannot afford an attorney, they will pressure you to visit with them. DON'T DO IT. If they call, tell them you will not answer any questions without a lawyer being appointed to represent you and being present during any and all questioning. They will probably tell you that if you are innocent, you don't need a lawyer, however that couldn't be farther from the truth. The innocent need an attorney the most! Good Luck, Exercise your right to remain silent and to have a lawyer. DON'T SAY ANYTHING EVEN IF THEY THREATEN TO ARREST YOU!

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Anyone who is a suspect in a criminal case needs to get a reputable criminal defense lawyer ASAP.

Even a lawyer who is a suspect knows to hire a lawyer who does criminal defense. Why? Because even the lawyer cannot be objective about his or her own situation.

And, a non-lawyer is in an even worse situation than a lawyer when talking to police who think the non-lawyer did a crime. The police are skilled at interrogation. The police likely are simply trying to get a confession. To speak to law enforcement without an attorney is going in harms way for a suspect.

Get a lawyer.

Answers on Avvo are for general information purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice. No attorney / client relationship is created by providing this answer. For specific advice about your situation, you should consult a competent attorney of your choosing.

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