Arrests and Your Rights
Getting informed about arrests and your rights
Got Arrested:A criminal case usually starts when an arrest is made by a police officer or other law enforcement agent. An officer may make arrests if the officer witnesses a criminal act being committed or if there is probable cause to believe a criminal act was committed. "Probable cause" is a level of reasonable belief, based on facts that can be articulated, that a criminal act was committed.
If an officer conducts a "stop and frisk," it does not mean you were arrested. A stop and frisk is when an officer who is suspicious of an individual stops and frisks (pats down) the person. The purpose of a frisk is only to make sure the person stopped is not dangerous and not armed. Unlike a full search after an arrest, a frisk is a pat down of outer clothing in search of a weapon. If not weapon is found, the search should not go any further.
The police do not need a warrant to stop you on the street. This can be the case if they believe a crime is underway and you are involved. Once the police stop you, you must remain. However, if they ask you questions you are not required to answer them. The police are not required to give you Miranda warnings if you have not been arrested. You may be asked for your name and ID card.
If you are unsure whether or not an arrest is taking place, ask the officer if you are under arrest. If you're not under arrest, you do not have to go with the officer to the police station, nor do you have to answer any questions. You can decline to answer and simply walk away. The police are not required to give you Miranda warnings if you are not arrested and they question you.
If you are under arrest, the officer will put you in handcuffs and take you to the police station. At the time of arrest, the officer will tell you why you are being arrested, how the arrest is authorized, whether the officer has an arrest warrant or has reasonable cause to believe you committed a crime. If any of those are the case, the arrest is authorized and legal. If arrest is legal, the officer may conduct a search of you, your clothing and a limited search of the area close to you. If the arrest is done illegally, the issue of the arrest and what is found on you would be addressed in the court of law.
Once arrested and in police custody, the police must give you Miranda warnings before any interrogation or questioning. The police may not use physical violence, threats, or false promises in their interrogation, to get you to waive your Miranda rights. Nor can they use those tactics to get you to answer questions, even if you have waived your rights to remain silent. If identification is an issue, once in custody the police might arrange for identification procedure by the victim, a witness to the crime, or an undercover police officer. The identification procedure might take place in form of a photo array, line-ups (as commonly seen on TV), or a show-up. In some states, the accused has a right to have his/her attorney present at the time of the identification procedure.
If you or your loved one is arrested make sure to contact our offices at (646) 455-7678 to speak with a criminal defense attorney.
Get a Criminal Attorney ASAP if ArrestedIt is essential to contact a criminal attorney as soon as you find out that you or a loved one is arrested and charged with a crime. A well trained, experienced, and devoted criminal attorney will lead you through the complexities of the criminal justice system and make sure your rights are defended and protected.
Having a criminal record can permanently and negatively affect your life and livelihood. It's essential to have a criminal attorney represent you as soon as possible - to obtain the best result possible when facing arrest.