Getting arrested for your first time can induce great panic. Whether you are guilty or innocent of a crime, no one fancies an arrest at any time of their lives. Even people who have been arrested before find it rather uncomfortable to deal with arrests at other times. However, it would help if you remembered that your behavior during an arrest would determine your charges and influence a lot of things. Behaving in the wrong way could land you into trouble even if you were innocent, to begin with. Here is a list of dos and don’ts of an arrest.
What Not to Do when You Are Arrested
The most important tips to have in mind during an arrest is what you should not do. This is because following them to the letter will keep you out of further trouble. Here are some of the things you should never do during an arrest.
1. Never Resist Arrest
One of the most damning mistakes people make during an arrest is resisting arrest. Whether you are guilty of the crime the police are accusing you of, or you are totally innocent, you should never resist arrest. Doing so will only make you look guilty.
2. Do Not Speak Too Much
Anything you say from the time of your arrest may be used against you during prosecution. In the midst of the confusion and panic that comes with your arrest, you may be tempted to convince the police of your innocence. Refrain from doing this at all costs. No words you say will convince them of your innocence. Wait till you seek legal advice before defending yourself.
3. Do Not Try to Fight the Police
One of the gravest mistakes you might ever do is to engage in a physical confrontation with the police. That in itself is a crime that could land you in jail and get you heavily fined. Ensure you follow the commands they give you and do not exchange angry words as they may quickly escalate into a physical fight.
4. Do Not Try to Run Away
Getting arrested for the first time can be a scary ordeal. Sometimes, your first impulse may be to run away. You should, however, fight that urge since running away from the police has never been a good idea. They will always catch up with you, and you will find it hard to explain why you were evading them.
5. Do Not Consent to a Search
In the event of an arrest, police officers may ask your consent to search your belongings or your house. Politely, yet firmly, deny them that consent until they get a search warrant for your house. In most cases, an officer who asks your consent to search your house is yet to acquire a search warrant.
6. Do Not Be Rude
Throughout your arrest, you will find it helpful to be polite and avoid rude remarks. Do not speak smack to the police officers arresting you. Avoid making threats about them regretting arresting you or that you will ensure they’ll lose their badge. It would be best if you remembered that they would be the ones handling your investigations and it is wise not to be on their bad side.
7. Do Not Accept to Cooperate
Whether the police promise you leniency or make other tempting offers, do not accept to cooperate. Police often lie to suspects to get them to confess to their crimes. For instance, if you and your friend were arrested, the police might lie to you that your friend ratted you out to make you confess to everything. It is therefore advisable not to cut any deals without first seeking your lawyer’s opinion.
What to Do when You Are Arrested
1. Express Your Wish to Remain Silent
If you chose to exercise your right to remain silent, it is advisable to inform the officer that is arresting you of your intentions. They are obliged by the law to respect your decision in doing this, and no officer is allowed to force you into speaking under any circumstance.
2. Do Not Give Wrong Documentation
When asked for your identification documents, make sure you give the right ones. Offering wrong identification details to law enforcement officers is a crime that could land you into deeper trouble than you were initially in.
3. Call a Defense Attorney
As an American citizen, you have the right to an attorney any time you are arrested. If you have one, make sure you contact them as soon as possible. However, if you cannot afford an attorney, you have the right to be provided with one.
It is important to note that law enforcement officers are not allowed to listen in on a phone call made to your lawyer.
What to Do if Your Rights Have Been Violated
Arrests do not always follow the proper protocols. Some rogue policemen may blatantly ignore and violate your rights. What should you do if you find yourself in such a situation?
1. Take Down All Relevant Details
Note down all that you recall from the incident. This may include the police officers’ patrol car and badge numbers, their agencies, and any relevant details that may help you identify them if need be. In case there were witnesses when the violations took place, take their contacts since they will help to prove your case.
2. File a Written Complaint
Ensure you file a written complaint as soon as you can. You could either file one with the civilian complaint board or the responsible agency’s internal affairs division. If you wish, you may even file the complaint anonymously.
Why You Need to Involve a Defense Attorney
Being arrested and in custody is definitely a hectic time. In most cases, you might feel the pressure to do all you can to get out of trouble. However, it is advisable to wait for your defense attorney before making any decision.
Your attorney will offer all the legal advice you may need and represent you if you are charged with a crime. With the right attorney on your side, you stand higher chances of avoiding prosecution or even conviction.
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