When you're arrested for a crime, especially if you're innocent, there are certain things you need to know. Most importantly, you need to know what to do and what not to do. Your actions determine whether or not your charges will be dropped. Here are five dos and don'ts that you must know:
1. Do contact a lawyer
The very first thing you must do when you're arrested is to contact a criminal law attorney. You should do this before contacting family and most certainly before talking to police or detectives. A criminal law attorney will make sure that at no point your rights are violated. Even if you're innocent and you can prove it, call a lawyer.
2. Do know the rights of everyone involved
Once you're arrested, the police have the right to do certain things. This includes the right to search you and your belongings, to question you, to fingerprint you, and to detain you. However, your rights do not trump the rights of the police. If any of these rights are violated, the case can be thrown out. Here are your rights:
- You have the right to remain silent.
- You do not have to submit to questioning without a lawyer.
- Police may not threaten you, intimidate you, use force, or make promises.
3. Don't speak
You have the fifth amendment right to not speak, and you should exercise it. Do not speak to police or investigators. Even if you're innocent and you're absolutely sure you can prove it, don't make any statements to officers. Consult a lawyer before answering any questions or making statements.
4. Do be respectful and calm
When you're innocent and the police don't believe you, it's easy to lose your cool. Absolutely do not talk back to officers, raise your voice, or resist them if they're being forceful. Always say "yes/ no sir/ma'am" and speak in a calm, low voice. If you need to, take a minute and breathe deeply and slowly before responding.
5. Don't make a deal
Don't make a deal with anyone, not without talking to your lawyer. If an officer promises to drop the charges as long as you make a statement, don't agree to it without an attorney present. Also, if you're arrested with anyone, do not make an agreement with that person to make false statements in order to get off. You can be charged with obstruction or giving false statements.
These are five dos and don'ts you should keep in mind if you're ever arrested. If you've been arrested, contact a criminal law attorney, such as those at Larson, Latham, Huettl Attorneys, for help.