If you are arrested, your first words and actions may majorly affect the severity of the charges you will face or how your case is presented to the court. It is crucial that you retain the services of a criminal defense lawyer immediately who can help protect your freedom.
If you are arrested, the first thing you should do is to demand an attorney and otherwise say nothing. It is your constitutional right to remain silent. Police may use anything you say against you in court. This may be easier said than done. Some police may try to use tactics to get you to talk such as threatening more serious charges. Or they may take an opposite approach and may try to be friendly and joke around with you to get you to relax and give up information. The ONLY thing you should say is, “I want an attorney.” Anything else out of your mouth may be used against you.
Police can arrest you if they have a legal document called an arrest warrant signed by a judge. They may also arrest you if you have committed a serious crime or they believe you will commit a serious crime. Additionally, they may arrest you without a warrant for a lesser crime in certain circumstances. Although they may arrest you and may touch you to do so, they are not allowed to hurt you in the process. They should tell you why you are being arrested and make sure you understand them.
If arrested, you have these rights:
- A constitutional right to remain silent
- A right to legal counsel. If you cannot afford one, one will be appointed to you.
- A right to a lawyer present during interrogation.
Officers must respect your rights. You may not legally be required or forced by anyone to talk, answer questions or sign any papers. You have a right to an itemized list of all money and property taken from you at the time you were taken into custody. You also have a right to a reasonable number of phone calls or otherwise communicate with an attorney and a member of your family within a reasonable period of time.