If you have been arrested by the police, there are many things you should do. For example, you should generally remain calm and silent and get an attorney who can advise you of your rights and help you with complicated criminal laws and the legal system. There are also many things you shouldn’t do if you’ve been arrested.
For instance, you should never talk to anyone about the incident except for your lawyer. You should also not actively resist being arrested. What you do or don’t do if you’ve been arrested can have a significant effect on the potential outcome of your case.
What are Some of the Things I Should Do If I’ve Been Arrested?
There are many things you can and should do once you have been arrested. These will help ensure that your legal rights are not violated. Some of the things you should do if arrested include:
- Remain silent. You do not have to answer any questions the police ask you in connection with the arrest. Anything you say can potentially be used against you in court.
- Be polite and behave respectfully towards the police officer(s).
- Remain calm.
- Contact your attorney or ask for one if you don’t have one yet. Don’t say anything until the attorney is present.
- Try to remember the badge numbers of any officers you interact with, as well as their patrol car number(s).
- Make sure that your attorney is present for any questioning or discussions.
- Be sure that your attorney is present for any lineups or testing procedures (such as drawing a blood sample.
- Let your attorney deal with the police and prosecutors, especially if they offer you some kind of deal or plea bargain.
- If you have been injured, take photographs of the injuries as soon as possible and seek medical attention.
- Try to find and identify witnesses and get their contact information (name, phone number).
Taking these steps and actions can do much to help your case, and can help you avoid potential conflicts or disputes with police authorities. Some of these steps can help lay the groundwork for evidence or proof in your case.
What are the Things I Should Not Do If I Am Arrested?
If you have been arrested, some things that you do can have negative effects on the outcome of your case. To ensure that you cooperate and your rights are protected:
- Do not say or describe anything about the incident to the police.
- Do not yell or mouth off to the police or do anything to upset them.
- Do not attempt to run from the police. You will likely be caught and it will not help your case in court. You might also face additional charges such as evading police or resisting arrest.
- Do not say anything about the incident you were arrested for to anyone besides your lawyer (this includes cellmates if you are in jail).
- Do not give the police permission to search anything or any of your belongings.
- Do not resist arrest. Even if you are innocent, resisting arrest can lead to increased charges or additional legal/criminal issues. In particular, do not touch the officers in any way, or even attempt to touch them.
- Do not believe the things the police might tell you in order to get you to talk. The police are generally allowed to lie to you. Often times they will say things like, “It will be easier on you if you just tell the truth.” However, this may only make it easier for the police to prove their case.
- If the police come to your home or residence, do not let them in unless they have a warrant and do not go outside. It may be that they actually need an arrest warrant to arrest you in your home; if you go outside, you may be arrested without a warrant.
- If the police arrest you outside of your home or place of residence, do not allow any officer to go into your home to get clothes, talk to your wife, etc. If you accept such a request, then the police may escort you into your home and begin to search it without a warrant. The same applies to your car.
By avoiding these actions, you can help your case greatly. Again, one of the more important steps is to avoid speaking with the police unless you have an attorney present.
What if My Rights Have Been Violated During an Arrest?
When arresting a suspect, police must follow very specific procedures and steps when handling the person. For instance, they are generally not to use an excessive amount of force. If you feel that your rights have been violated in the process of an arrest, you may need to speak with an attorney.
An attorney can help review what happened and can help determine whether your rights have been violated. In some cases, suing the police may be appropriate if your rights have been infringed upon.
I’ve Been Arrested, Do I Need a Lawyer?
Yes. A qualified criminal defense lawyer in your area can inform you of your rights and defenses and represent you in court. The above do’s and don’ts are suggestions that can help ensure your rights are protected. An experienced criminal lawyer can help protect your legal rights as well.