During the criminal process in Virginia, you are allowed to contact a Virginia criminal defense attorney once you are processed and booked at the detention center. Sometimes, this means after you are fingerprinted and brought back into a holding area, while other times, you’re allowed to make the phone call, only after you’ve been assigned a place to stay within the detention center. Either way, it is important you consult with a lawyer as soon as possible to go over your case and begin planning a defense.
You have the right to speak with an attorney after you are arrested. That said, sometimes after you are arrested you are not read your Miranda Rights immediately. The right to speak to an attorney after arrest exists for you whether or not your Miranda Rights are read to you. For this reason, what many attorneys will advise when interacting with the police is to ask the officer if you are under arrest. If they tell you that you are under arrest, then you should immediately say, “I do not wish to make any statement. I know I have the right to an attorney and I wish to invoke my right to an attorney right now.”
This will prevent the officers from either waiting to give you your Miranda Rights or otherwise pretending that you don’t have the right to speak to an attorney. It’s not when the officers tell you that you have the right to speak to an attorney, it’s once you are arrested, and therefore, you should say you want to speak with one immediately.
It absolutely does not imply guilt to ask to speak with an attorney. As far as your case is concerned, asking to speak with an attorney has nothing to do with whether or not you’re guilty. In fact, not speaking with an attorney and not saying that you wish to speak with your attorney, however before speaking with the officers, can only result in the officers potentially pulling information from you and using it in whatever way they see fit. It’s definitely the smart choice and the right choice to ask to speak with an attorney immediately.
Speaking to counsel, when you’re contacted by Virginia law enforcement officials, is extremely important, even before you are charged, because anything that you say to the law enforcement officials (whether or not they charge you formally with a crime) can be used against you later on as they build a case and evidence against you. Therefore, with every police interaction that you have, you should know that anything that you say can be used by the police officers to potentially convict you of a crime.
You might not even know yet what the police officers are looking for or what type of information they will deem important, but they do and they usually have an idea of what they need you to say. Sometimes in interactions with the police officers, even before you’ve been charged or been arrested, you might stay things that will later on be used against you in court and make you look as though you were guilty of a crime. This is why it’s incredibly important to speak with an attorney as soon as you think you are being investigated so that the attorney can help facilitate any interaction that you have, if any, with the police officers in advance and can limit the questions the police officers are asking you, should that attorney decide it’s beneficial to your case to actually speak to the police officers at all.