What to do if You are Arrested

What to do if You are Arrested

WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE ARRESTED…

The police officer has just asked you to step out of the car and said, “You are under arrest.” It happens every day to numerous citizens and it could someday happen to you. Knowing what to do and what to expect can help you handle an extremely intimidating situation.

Rule #1: STAY CALM! Try your best to talk to the police in a calm and respectful manner. Do not make any quick or furtive motions. Often-times the officer is nervous as well and one of the last things you should do is escalate the situation. Making a conscious effort to stay calm will also help you better remember the details of your arrest and share that information with your attorney later.

Rule #2: Give the officer your identifying information. Even though it is your basic right to remain silent, the police will request some basic information such as your name, date of birth, address, and possibly family contact information. The officer is well within his authority to demand this information along with your identification. The information is necessary for the officer to complete his report and for pretrial services to get your bail set. Therefore, you should provide this information but only this information and do it politely.

Rule #3: Invoke your Constitutional rights. You may have heard the comedian tell the joke about his arrest and how he had the right to remain silent, but not the ability. While that may make for a lot of laughs on stage, in real life, I have seen numerous people convicted of crimes based almost entirely on the statements they, themselves, gave to the police. If you do not believe you can keep your head enough to invoke your rights, download a free Constitutional Rights Card print it off and keep it in your wallet or car. Do not make any other statements; just let the card speak for you.

Rule #4: Call your attorney. It is your right, USE IT! Write the name and phone number of your attorney on your Constitutional Rights Card so you have it with you at all times. After you make your call, keep your mouth shut until your attorney arrives.

Rule #5: Absolutely DO NOT resist your arrest. As previously stated, the officer is often on edge and nervous himself when making an arrest. The worst thing you can do is escalate the situation because then the officer will feel the need to physically restrain and subdue you usually with pepper spray or worse. Your resistance can also be used against you later and could also result in additional charges.

Rule #6: Know that you will be photographed, fingerprinted and searched as part of the normal arrest procedure. Staying calm and relaxed during the process will help you in ways you probably will not see at the time. I once represented a young man on a DUI case where he was looking at having to do serve some time and was able to negotiate a plea where he avoided jail time almost solely on the fact that the guy was cooperative and polite to the officer who remembered it when the prosecutor talked to the cop about the case.

Remembering these six simple rules will make things a lot easier on you and greatly assist in your defense later.