I want a lawyer. Are the police allowed to question me?

No and Yes.

No, not about the crime you are personally charged with once you ask for a lawyer or tell the officer’s you have a lawyer. But defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to counsel is offense specific, meaning that it applies only to questioning about crimes for which the defendant has been indicted or for which he has had an initial appearance. Officers may question a defendant about other crimes, even closely related crimes – but not greater or lesser-included offenses – without running afoul of the Sixth Amendment. Texas v. Cobb, 532 U.S. 167 (2001); McNeil v. Wisconsin, 501 U.S. 171 (1991).  The police may come at you sideways and ask you about some other crime you haven’t been charged with yet.

The Judge’s Notebook

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