I do not give people my “elevator speech” when they ask for it. Who wants to “market” themselves? I mean who wants to market themselves with pithy quotes and pretty words? We have some but what does “Compassionate Counsel, Passionate Defense” tell you about what I can do for you with your criminal case? Yes, we are good listeners. Yes, we do get behind your cause. How does good fellowship and attentiveness benefit your case?
But I have been listening for about two decades now to thousands of clients. And I am always on your side. And one of the most common occurrences when listening to my clients and reviewing the evidence (against them) is that they often have excellent, winnable cases UNTIL we get to what they themselves said to law enforcement. Add in what they may or may not have done at the direction of law enforcement and it’s just a few more thrusts with the shovel.
So, instead of the “elevator speech” I give people the Universal Tool. It does not matter the crime of which you are suspected. It does not matter if you did or did not commit that crime. It does not matter if you have lots or no experience in dealing with law enforcement. It does not matter how much you know your Rights.
“Officer, if I am not free to go then I want an attorney.” This is the Universal Tool. Repeat it quietly to yourself. Now, go ahead, get comfortable saying it out loud. The reality is, most people are intimidated by law enforcement. If you cannot say this out loud with no one around then you may have trouble saying it to the officer. So, please practice a few times.
Why is this so good? There are a number of reasons. One, the 6th amendment right to counsel attaches sooner and is more difficult to lose. Two, law enforcement is rarely clear on whether you need to comply or not. That is, some questions are requests and some are orders. They have no obligation to tell you which is which. If you comply they act like, based on what they just learned, they have no choice but to arrest you. If you do not comply, they act like they are arresting you because of your non-compliance. Listen to me when I say, if an Officer arrests you then he/she was going to arrest you anyway. I apologize in advance if this hurts your feelings but people are not as slick as they think at “talking their way out” of things.
Third, this truly is universal. You don’t know whether you should perform the Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs) or not (you are suspected of a DUI). “Officer, if I am not free to go then I want an attorney.” Recently Washington Court have ruled this refusal to perform the FSTs is admissible against you in trial. What an excellent explanation that you refused on the advice of your attorney. Similarly, an Officer just told you that you might as well consent to a search of your vehicle because he’s going to search it anyway (you are suspected of drug or firearm charges or may have perhaps other incriminating items in your vehicle). “Officer, if I am not free to go then I want an attorney.” That attorney, by the way, will tell you not to consent.
There is a free attorney available on call. Remember this. The Miranda Rights actually misinform you. They tell you that if you cannot afford an attorney that one will be appointed. Appointed means the Judge gives you a lawyer. There is no Judge here. Many people think that if they cannot afford an attorney or if they cannot reach their own attorney then they are out of luck. This is not true. There is a free attorney available on call. Right now. Always. As you are speaking with the officer. No Judge has to do anything. All you have to say is, “Officer, if I am not free to go then I want an attorney.”
So, instead of an elevator speech I give you the Universal Tool. Please use it liberally and share the information. Then feel free to contact us further to see exactly what Compassionate Counsel and Passionate Defense can do for your situation.