Everyone reacts differently to an arrest. Maybe you’re naturally talkative, or a bit brash, or a little skittish—or maybe you’re simply content to do as you’re told. In many cases, you’ll need to fight your instincts in order to get off with as few consequences as possible. Here’s a quick guide to what you always should do following an arrest, as well as what you absolutely shouldn’t do.
What To Do
- Ask for a lawyer. When you’ve been arrested, an attorney can help you assert your rights from the get-go. Make sure you request one as soon as possible. Your lawyer will be able to coach you on what to say (and what to avoid saying) to police, advise you on how to plead, and craft a defense to give you the best possible chances in court. Without a lawyer, you’ll almost certainly be left at a disadvantage.
- Stay quiet. Silence is a right afforded to you by the Fifth Amendment. Take advantage of that right by staying quiet throughout the arrest process. The police may try to convince you that by answering questions, you’ll be able to resolve the matter more quickly and avoid harsher penalties. Don’t fall for this common tactic. Unless a lawyer is present, you should never waive your right to stay silent.
- Cooperate with the booking process. Just after your arrest, you’ll be taken to the police station or jail, where you’ll be required to follow the standard booking procedures. Police will take your fingerprints and your photograph, or mugshot, before taking you to a holding cell. Stay calm throughout this process and quietly do as you’re told. If you have the urge to struggle, mouth off at an officer, or even swat an officer’s hands away, make sure you resist temptation. Your cooperation will make it easier to defend your case in the long run.
What Not To Do
- Resist arrest or run. Whether you’re a target for arrest or you’re simply at the scene of someone else’s arrest, don’t run away from police. At best the police may think you’ve done something wrong and arrest you, and at worst they may arrest you with force—or even at gunpoint, if they suspect you’re armed. Similarly, don’t resist arrest by pushing police officers away from you or even by pulling away. Resisting arrest is a misdemeanor crime, and while police don’t always charge that offense, you’re better off safe than sorry.
- Try to talk your way out of it. Whether you’re a natural chatterbox or a silver-tongued speaker, you might be tempted to explain the situation to your arresting officers. It might seem like a good idea in theory, but in practice it never works. Rather than swaying the officers to let you go, your “explanations” will prompt them to take notes for anything they might be able to use against you in court.
- Give permission for searches. If police ask your permission to search somewhere, like your car or your home, they probably don’t believe they have the right to search without your consent. While you shouldn’t try to physically stop them, make it known that you do not consent to the search. It’s especially important to make sure bystanders can hear you deny the police’s request. That way, even if the officers perform a search anyway, you may be able to have their findings excluded as evidence.
Depending on the nature of your charges, you’re likely to have plenty more questions for your attorney. It is essential that you speak with a knowledgeable lawyer who excels in all areas of criminal defense. Contact my office today and I will work to make sure your rights are upheld every step of the way.