You’ve just been arrested. You’ve been secured in handcuffs, and you know you’re about to take a trip to the local jail. So what do you do? What do you say? Here’s a few points on how to handle yourself in this scenario. Your criminal defense lawyer will thank you.
First of all, consider this: YOU ARE PROBABLY ON CAMERA. How you behave and what you say can help you or it can hurt you. How do you want to be seen and remembered?
- Stay calm. Don’t resist the officer’s attempts to detain and arrest you. If an officer has made the decision to arrest, no amount of begging, crying or arguing is going to convince the officer to “un-arrest” you. If you attempt to avoid his attempt to arrest you, you could be charged with resisting arrest in addition to the original underlying charge.
- Don’t admit anything. This seems like a no-brainer, but it does happen. Don’t try to make friends with your arresting officer in an attempt to gain sympathy or leniency. You have nothing to gain by admitting fault. On the other hand, don’t lie – an obvious lie introduced at your trial could diminish your credibility.
- In fact, don’t talk at all. You are not required to make any statements to police. It’s a constitutionally protected right. The 5th Amendment guarantees you the right to remain silent. So use it. The more you talk, the more potential evidence you may provide the prosecuting authority.
- Don’t waive your right to an attorney. Request a lawyer immediately and interrogation must end.
- Don’t talk with anybody at the jail regarding the alleged allegations against you. This includes other inmates.
- Once you bond out of jail, call an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer. If you are unable to bond out, have a family member or friend contact an attorney to help you make bond.
- Never consent to a search. If an officer asks permission to search your vehicle, home, hotel room, etc, politely decline the request.
Now where do you draw the line between complying with reasonable requests by the police and asserting your right to not offer evidence? As a general rule, if possible, always politely decline to make any statements without a lawyer present.
Once an officer determines there is probable cause to arrest you, he is going to arrest you. So you might as well do everything you can to help yourself. So, be calm, reasonably comply with demands, stay quiet, and call a criminal defense lawyer.