If I was read my rights but not arrested, do I still have a right to court appointed counsel?

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If I was read my rights but not arrested, do I still have a right to court appointed counsel?

I was served with a search warrant for my computer. At that time the deputy also read me my rights but specifically said I was not under arrest.

Asked on June 29, 2011 under Criminal Law, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If charges are pressed or proferred against you, then you should have a right to an attorney--IF you can't afford one; if you could afford one, you are required to get you own lawyer (the court appointed attorneys are only for the indigent)--and, of course, will need one. However, until criminal legal action is actually taken against you (and a warrant is not criminal legal action for this purpose), there is no right to an attorney. That does not mean, by the way, that you shouldn't consult with an attorney (if you can at all afford one), particularly if you are aware of any thing you've done that could give to criminal charges against  you; if you're aware of a threat of prosecution, it's a good idea to get legal advice. But as stated, the right to have an attorney provided to you, if you can't afford one, only comes into play if you are charged.


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