Can a person be arrested and not have an attorney present?

UPDATED: Nov 25, 2011

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Can a person be arrested and not have an attorney present?

My father was arrested today for allegedly hunting on private property. He has been held for almost 24 hours and still has no idea what he is actually charged with. After he was arrested I went to the police station where I was told to wait outside. After mentioning the word “attorney” someone finally came out and I asked if he needed one. The officer told me he did not because he was only questioning him. So I said does he need one present during questioning and he said no it was just questioning. This town is tiny and it’s “buddy buddy who has the money system”.

Asked on November 25, 2011 under Criminal Law, Georgia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You can definitely be arrested without an attorney. You can also be held and even questioned by the police without an attorney--as long as you don't request on. Anyone arrested or in police custody has an absolute, constitutional right to have a lawyer, and the instant a person says he wants an attorney, the police are supposed to stop questioning him. Everyone also has an absolute right to remain silent. And the police are supposed to let people know about their rights to remain silent and to have an attorney--that's what the famous "Miranda" warning is about. The police did not provide your father his Miranda warning or tried to interfere with him having an attorney, they may have violated his constitutional rights, which could damage any case they have against him, and/or provide a basis to sue the police. You should retain an attorney for your father immediately; the lawyer can help protect your father's rights and see what he may be entitled to.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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