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Handling an Arrest

Posted by attorney James Layrisson

If you expect to be arrested, don't make a bad situation worse by mishandling the process. By considering your rights and responsibilities, you can avoid most common mistakes.

Begin by preparing your family. Memorize your lawyer's telephone number and make other emergency plans. Also, organize your finances for making bail.

Don't resist arrest. Fighting or fleeing the police can result in extra, possibly more serious, charges. Even if you believe your arrest is unfair or unwarranted, stay calm and submit to the arresting officer. Talking trash to the police is a bad idea, practically and legally, so be polite.

Immediately request an attorney. You have a right to a lawyer: use it! If you cannot afford counsel, the state must provide legal representation. Your right to a phone call can assist with contacting your attorney from jail.

Don't talk. Take advantage of your right to remain silent. Do not offer any explanations or excuses or information to police. Refrain from answering police questions except to identify yourself. In short, do not say anything, sign anything, or make any decisions without first consulting your lawyer.

Distrust the police. This advice may seem counterintuitive; police officers are to be respected and most are honest. However, police officers sometimes lie to criminal suspects for the purpose of gaining incriminating admissions. In fact, some officers are trained to lie to you to get your confession. For example, they may lie about having witnesses or video tape or fingerprints or DNA evidence. Or, they may separate you from your friend and tell you that your pal “ratted you out," hoping you will return the favor. Finally, officers often promise you will be better off if you admit your guilt and cooperate. Just remember, the police are interested in proving their case, not defending your case.

Don't consent to a search. If the police do not have a warrant, do not allow them to search your home or automobile. Searches often lead to incriminating evidence, and that's no good for you.

Make the most of a bad situation by handling your arrest right. You won't regret it

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