Invoking right to a lawyer – Virginia criminal lawyer weighs in
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Invoking the right to an attorney must be done clearly and unequivocally, says Virginia criminal defense lawyer
Invoking one’s Fifth and Sixth Amendment right to not talk with police without a lawyer so often spells the difference between liberty and conviction and incarceration. As a Virginia criminal defense attorney, I know that appellate courts only protect this right when expressed clearly and unequivocally.
Fairfax criminal lawyer on Virginia Court of Appeals’ reaffirmation of the need for firmly invoking the right to counsel
Kelly Daniel Bass was convicted of object sexual penetration under Code § 18.2-67.2(A)(1), forcible sodomy under Code § 18.2-67.1(A)(1), aggravated sexual battery under Code § 18.2-67.3(A)(1), and indecent liberties with a child under Code § 18.2-370(A)(4). Bass v. Virginia, ___ Va. App. ___ (July 9, 2019). Bass rejects his argument that Bass asserted his right to counsel and thereby by purportedly invoking said right that he should have had his statements to the police suppressed:
“We agree with the trial court’s conclusion that Bass’s request was not a clear and unequivocal request for counsel. Deferring to the trial court’s findings that Bass’s words were a question rather than a statement and that Bass was seeking to determine if there was ‘any way’ he could have an attorney, Bass’s question was more akin to a clarification of his rights, rather than a demand for an attorney.” Bass. Invoking one’s rights must be done clearly and firmly.
Virginia criminal lawyer on the right way versus wrong way to demand a lawyer
As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I urge people to watch my video on the power of simply saying “no” when invoking one’s rights to a lawyer, to remain silent, and to refuse searches. Respective ways for clearly asserting all of these rights can be as simple as: “I want a lawyer,” “I am not answering questions,” and “I refuse all searches.” This stands in stark contrast to Bass’s wishy-washiness: “’Is there any way uh I could have um like a an attorney or something present or a lawyer or something and um maybe a like a mental health professional?'”
Virginia criminal lawyer Jonathan L. Katz pursues multiple avenues for the best outcome in felony, misdemeanor, DUI, drug and sex prosecutions. To discuss your case with Jon Katz, please call his staff at 7 03-383-1100 to schedule a confidential appointment.