"I want a lawyer."
Once again, the Indiana Court of Appeals showed the importance of knowing the right words to tell the police if you wish to have a lawyer before answering any questions from the officer. Unless you ask for a lawyer using the proper words, the officer may ignore your request and keep asking questions to try to get you to incriminate yourself.
The stopping of police questioning is not required if a suspect makes a reference to an attorney that is ambiguous or equivocal. In the recent case of Hicks v. State, the following statement was determined not to be a clear request for an attorney allowing a confession to be used as evidence:
“I think I should talk to an attorney.”
Instead, you must make a clear demand for a lawyer that a police officer will not be able to claim later in court that the officer was not sure that you were asking for a lawyer. We won a reversal of a conviction on appeal when the trial court improperly allowed into evidence the defendant’s videotaped confession when the defendant had told the officer in the video:
“I want a lawyer so that way, you know, I don't have to worry about-you know-saying I don't know for the fifty-millionth time.”
If you want to protect and preserve your constitutional rights, do not “think” that you need a lawyer, because you do need one. Instead you must use four words at the start of any police questioning to protect your rights: “I want a lawyer.”