Many people are arrested for a wide variety of offenses across the United States. However, many of these people aren’t aware of their rights in these situations and end up having a harder time clearing their name because of it.
If for whatever reason you have a run-in with the law and find yourself arrested, here are a few helpful tips you should follow:
1. Don’t talk
We’ve all seen on television that an arresting officer will say: “you have the right to remain silent.” That’s true! You do have the right to remain silent – take advantage of that right! Even if you know that you are innocent of any wrongdoing, stay silent. Anything you say can be twisted, so it’s best to stay quiet until an attorney is present.
2. Don’t Run
There’s too much on the news of bad things that happen when people run from officers. From traffic stops to jaywalking, even the smallest offenses have ended in injury or even death when people run. Not only do you run the risk of bodily harm by running, but you could also have additional charges added (like resisting arrest or evading police).
3. Never Resist Arrest
A good rule of thumb when it comes to proving your innocence is to fight the case, not the officer. You’re going to lose the fight with an officer 10 times out of 10. Many people attempt to bump the officer or swat an officer’s hands away. This often becomes over-reported by the officer and the swatting becomes hitting which falls under the assault statutes, and now a minor misdemeanor arrest becomes a felony.
4. Call For Help
In most states, you are entitled to a phone call to your family, a bail bondsman, and an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, a public defender will be provided for you. You should memorize the numbers of a few people to call in case you are arrested. Police will probably not let you use your cell phone to make calls. Again, assume that any calls you make from a police station or jail are recorded – unless the call is to your lawyer.
5. Obtaining Legal Assistance
Being arrested can be unpleasant and stressful. More often than not, people just want to get out of jail and think that if they just explain the situation or cooperate, the police will let them go. Police officers may even say something to that effect. Again, this point can’t be said enough. Do not try to talk your way out of jail, or make any decisions about your case, without first talking to a lawyer. Do not participate in a lineup, or do anything else with regards to your case, until you see a lawyer.