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What to Do and What NOT to Do When You’re Arrested
July 31, 2013
Getting arrested isn’t something that we usually plan for, but unfortunately, it seems to happen to many individuals. In fact, the New York Times reported on a study that found that around 30 percent of American citizens get arrested before they even turn 23. This statistic is staggering, so in reality, it’s important for everyone to understand what they should do when arrested. Sometimes even more importantly, however, they need to understand what not to do.
What to Do if Arrested
There are several things that every person should do if they’re placed under arrest. Whether or not they do these things could decide the outcome of their criminal trial.
Ask if you’re under arrest: You have the right to know if you’re under arrest. Police can detain you, but only for long enough to ask simple questions and do a quick body search if they have reason to believe that you have a weapon on you. They can remove items from your pockets only if they have reason to believe that you possess a weapon. If you’re not under arrest, the police have to let you go at this point.
Be courteous: Don’t argue with an officer, even if you think that you’re in the right. Instead, remain polite and courteous. If they perform an illegal search or traffic stop, your attorney can handle this later in court. Being polite is one of the best ways to have police simply move on.
What Not to Do if Arrested
There are also several things that a person should avoid doing if they’re ever arrested.
Don’t become an attorney: Resist the temptation to sit back and tell a police officer that he has no legal grounds for arresting you.
Don’t give up information: Recognize that if a cop says he knows you did something, or he claims that he has witnesses against you, it’s probably a ruse. Police officers are allowed to lie to you to elicit a confession. Many false confessions are elicited through the methods officers use, so just stay silent until you speak with an attorney. When police start questioning you, remember four words: “I want my attorney.”
Don’t agree to any searches: Never give the police consent to search an area. This is one of their main methods of getting evidence when they don’t have a warrant. Additionally, if the police claim to have a warrant, ask to see it before they begin their search.
Getting arrested is a trying time in anyone’s life. Your experience, depending on what you’re charged with, could vary wildly from another person’s. The aforementioned rules, however, will always remain the same. Having an attorney will assist a person in avoiding some mistakes, but handling the situation appropriately starts at the time of arrest.