Saturday, April 18, 2020

What to do if You're Being Arrested

Nobody thinks an arrest will happen to them. However, it can be easier than you might think to accidentally land on the long side of the law. Perhaps the police have been called over an argument at home, or a traffic accident. Whatever the reason, you should know what to do if you are arrested so you don’t make the situation worse. Consider an arrest another emergency that you should know how to deal with. 

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If you are being arrested, try not to panic. Remember that you have the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney, but these rights can only protect you if you use them. If you are arrested, keep quiet until your lawyer arrives. 

What is an arrest?
If a police officer takes you into custody, then you have been arrested. An officer will take you into custody when you are not free to leave. An arrest may mean being taken to jail,  but the arrest itself actually begins much earlier. If you have been stopped and questioned and are not free to end the questioning, you are under arrest. 

An officer can only arrest you if:
  • They see you commit a crime
  • They have probable cause to believe that you have committed a crime
  • A judge or magistrate has issued a warrant for your arrest

Don’t use force
In the vast majority of cases, you do not have the right to resist arrest, even if the arrest is illegal. If you try to resist and use force, you can be charged with resisting arrest or battery of an officer, which only makes things worse. If you think your arrest is unlawful, cooperate and wait for your lawyer. 

Know what to expect
You will be searched, either at the scene or at the jail, and any evidence or items you are not allowed will be taken. You will be photographed and fingerprinted. 

If you are arrested and questioned, you must be informed of your legal right to remain silent and be helped by an attorney. If you waive these rights, anything you say can be used against you in court. Sometimes you will be asked to sign a waiver before talking. This is almost never a good idea. Instead, indicate that you understand, then wait for your attorney before saying anything further. 

Invoke your rights
Remember your right to remain silent until you have a lawyer present. Tell the officers that you wish to remain silent and want to speak to a lawyer. After you’ve done this, be quiet. It’s easy to start talking and accidentally say something incriminating that can cause you problems later.

You can tell the police your name and other basic information, like your birth date and address, but don’t tell them anything else without an attorney present. After your arrest, you shouldn’t speak to police offers, or to anyone else about your case, including other inmates, or your family. 

Police are trained to get information, and other inmates may try to get details from you that they can use as a bargaining chip in their own case. Assume that any conversations you have with any visitors or over the phone are being monitored. However, the conversation you have with your lawyer is confidential. 

Call for help
You should be entitled to a phone call, to your family, an attorney, or a bail bondsman like Bad Boys Bail Bonds. Memorize the numbers of a few people to call in the case of an arrest. You will probably not be allowed to use your own phone to make these calls, so you will need to know the numbers. 

Get legal help
Being arrested is stressful and unpleasant. People just want to make the problem go away and can think that they can just explain the situation, the police will let them go. This is rarely the case, so don’t try and talk your way out of jail or make any choices about your case without speaking with your lawyer first. Don’t take part in a lineup or anything else until your lawyer arrives. 

If you are being arrested and charged with a crime, you are entitled to help from an attorney. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney or the local public defender’s office to discuss your case. They will be able to tell you how your case is likely to fare in court and what to expect. Calling a good attorney is the best way to protect your rights and get the best possible outcome from your case.