It can be challenging to think clearly during and after an arrest. Most average persons are fearful about the social stigmas, personal, financial, legal consequences and the affect of the arrest on their families.
At the time of one’s arrest, a police officer should present you with your Miranda Rights. These are not just a formality but rather an important part of your arrest. It is vital to stay focused and to take the steps necessary to ensure that all of your rights are protected through the whole ordeal.
Communication with the Police
The Miranda Rights include your right to remain silent. This is an important right in the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution which protects a person from being a witness against himself in a criminal trial. While you should identify yourself upon police request by stating your name and address or providing your driver’s license or state ID, you are not required to answer further questions asked to you by a police officer.
It is in your best interest to be polite. You can calmly state that you will not be answering questions until you have consulted with your attorney.
While you are not required to answer the questions posed by police officials, you may be required to remain in their custody until your attorney has secured your release or a judge has established bail which you have met. Never try to escape from police custody. This will only compound the charges against you and increase your chances of remaining in jail.
Remember the Circumstances of Your Arrest
Sometimes things go wrong during an arrest. An officer may violate your rights or use excessive force. These details may be vital in your personal defense and are always important for the officer’s superiors to be aware of. It is important that you pay careful attention to everything that happens during your arrest and write it down as soon as possible after your arrest.
Witnesses to your arrest can also be important and may be able to testify about any police misconduct or error that occurred during your arrest. Many police vehicles are equipped with video surveillance that may be obtained during the discovery phase of a trial and can be an important piece of evidence if you are alleging police misconduct or that you did not commit the crime in question.
Right to be Represented by Counsel
Your lawyer can help you at the time of your arrest and throughout your criminal proceedings. After you provide the police with your name, address and telephone number you are not obligated to speak with them without your attorney present. Remember, if you cannot afford a lawyer then the court will appoint a defense lawyer to your case.
Your criminal defense lawyer can start helping you as soon as you call him after your arrest. Your lawyer will help you through police interrogation, bail hearings, plea bargaining and all aspects of your trial.