When a person is arrested by the police, there are several things the person should do, both at the time of arrest and soon after. For example, the person should remain calm, remain silent and ask to speak to an attorney who can advise the person of their rights, how to claim their rights and how to proceed.
There are also several things a person should not do if they have been arrested. For instance, a person should never talk to anyone other than their lawyer about the incident. If the person ends up in a jail cell, they should especially not discuss their case with any of the people in jail with them. Do not ask jail inmates for advice. Ask to speak to a lawyer and look to a lawyer only for advice.
If the person can contact a family member who can get a lawyer for them, that would be a good move. If the person cannot afford to consult an attorney, they should know that they have a right to a lawyer, and the government must provide them with a lawyer free of charge. The person should continue to ask to see a lawyer, until a lawyer appears for consultation.
A person who is being arrested should also not actively resist the arrest. Recent events have shown us clearly that resisting arrest can be dangerous, for one thing. Also, it can lead to additional criminal charges. And generally, what a person does or does not do if they have been arrested can have a significant effect on the potential outcome of their case.
What Should I Do If I’ve Been Arrested?
There are many things a person can and should do once they have been arrested. These will help ensure that their legal rights are not violated. Some of the things a person should do if arrested include:
- A person should remain silent and remember that they do not have to answer any questions the police ask during the arrest. Anything the person says can potentially be used against them later in court. This means that it could be used in some way to prove the person to be guilty of a crime. So, it is in a person’s best interest not to talk and wait for the advice of a lawyer.
- A person may think that they can safely say something or that they know of something that can help them with the police. The fact is, however, that a person may not understand how something they say could be used in court to show their guilt. It is safest to assume that once a person has been arrested, nothing they can say is going to be helpful. The best approach is not to say anything;
- Be polite and respectful in their behavior towards the police officer(s).
- The police have a right to search a person who has been arrested to check for weapons and other evidence of crime. There is no point in resisting this search. If the person has a weapon, the police are going to take it. Again, the police have a right to do this, and the person should not resist it.
- The police also have a right to search the area within the immediate control of the person being arrested. This has been defined as the area from within which the person might grab a weapon or destroy evidence. Again, the police have a right to conduct such a search, and there is no point in resisting it;
- It is understandable that a person would want to panic, but it pays to try to remain calm;
- A person who has been arrested should contact an attorney if the person can or ask for one if they do not have one yet. They should not say anything until they have been advised to do so by their attorney;
- Try to remember, or make a note of, the badge numbers of any officers with whom a person interacts, as well as their patrol car number(s);
- Make sure that an attorney is present for any questioning or discussions;
- Get the advice of an attorney for any lineups or testing procedures, such as drawing a blood sample or swabs;
- Allow their attorney to deal with the police and prosecutors, especially if they offer the person some kind of deal or plea bargain;
- If the person has been injured, they should seek medical attention immediately. Then they should take photographs of their injuries as soon as possible;
- Try to find and identify witnesses and get their contact information, i.e., names and phone numbers.
Keep in mind that the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution gives each citizen of the U.S. the right to an attorney during critical stages of a criminal prosecution. This means that the person’s attorney must be present at such points as:
- During questioning by the police;
- At a police line-up;
- At a physical examination conducted for the police;
- At an arraignment;
- At all court hearings, such as preliminary hearings.
Taking these steps and actions can do much to help a person’s case, and can help them avoid potential conflicts or disputes with police authorities. Some of these steps can help lay the groundwork for obtaining evidence or proof for the person’s potential criminal case.
What Should I Not Do If I Am Arrested?
If a person has been arrested, some things that they do can have a negative effect on the outcome of their case. To ensure that the person cooperates and their rights are protected, the person should NOT do the following:
- Do not comment on the incident in any way to the police;
- Do not shout, scream or talk in a loud, unpleasant way to the police or do anything else to provoke them;
- Do not attempt to run away from the police. A person is very likely to be caught and might even be injured in the process. It does not help their case in court. The person might also be charged with additional criminal offenses, such as evading police or resisting arrest;
- Do not say anything about the incident for which they were arrested to anyone besides their lawyer. This includes cellmates if the person is in jail. It is understandable to be upset and want to talk to someone and look for help and advice. But a fellow inmate in jail is not the person with whom to discuss feelings. Nor should a person seek help from fellow inmates;
- Do not give the police permission to search anything, including a car or home, Do not give the police permission to search any belongings. A person has no obligation to give the police consent to search anything, and it is best not to do it. Again, however, the police have a right to search the person being arrested and their immediate surroundings, and there is no point in resisting this search;
- Do not resist arrest. Even if a person is innocent, resisting arrest can lead to additional criminal charges or additional legal/criminal issues. In particular. Do not touch or try to touch the officers in any way. It can be dangerous. The safe thing to do is to submit to the arrest and fight about issues later in a court of law.
- Do not believe the things the police might tell them in order to get them to talk. The police are generally allowed to tell falsehoods to a person. The police may say such things as, “It will be easier on you if you just tell the truth.”
- However, what the police hope is that the person says something that makes it easier for the police to prove their case. Resist the temptation to talk;
- If the police come to a person’s home or residence, do not let them in unless they have a warrant. If they have a warrant, let them enter and conduct their search. Do not go outside. It may be that they actually need an arrest warrant to arrest a person in their home; if a person goes outside, they may be arrested without a warrant.
- If the police arrest a person outside of their home, the person should not give their consent to having an officer go into their home to get clothes, talk to their partner, etc. If they accept such a request, then the police may escort them into their home and begin to search it without a warrant. The same applies to a person’s car.
By avoiding these actions, a person can help their case greatly. Again, one of the more important steps is to avoid speaking with the police unless an attorney has advised a person to do so.
What If My Rights Have Been Violated During an Arrest?
When arresting a suspect, police must follow very specific procedures and steps in their handling of the person. For instance, they are generally not to use excessive force. If a person feels that their rights have been violated in an arrest, they should speak to an attorney about it and ask whether there is a legal remedy for the wrong done to them.
An attorney can review what happened and help determine whether a person’s rights have been violated. In some cases, suing the police may be appropriate if a person’s rights have been infringed upon.
I’ve Been Arrested, Do I Need a Lawyer?
An experienced criminal defense lawyer in your area can inform you of your rights and defenses and represent you in court. The above dos and don’ts are suggestions that can help ensure that your arrest does not make your situation worse and your legal rights are protected. An experienced criminal lawyer can help protect your legal rights as well and defend you against criminal charges that result from your arrest.