Getting arrested is a scary and stressful situation. That being said, oftentimes a person’s first reaction typically is to argue with police officers or to start asking questions. To make things worse, there are many times when a person might even try to resist arrest because they know that the arresting officer is making a mistake and arresting the wrong person. The worst thing that any person can do if they’re arrested is to NOT cooperate.
If you or someone you know is arrested for a crime, here are some tips to follow:
- Be cooperative. While you have the right to remain silent (we’ll get to that shortly), one of the best things that you can do is to show law enforcement that you are listening to them and respond to their directions in a calm manner. Here is the perfect example: a person is being arrested for a crime that they say they did not commit. The police officer goes to handcuff the person, and the person does not want to listen to the police officer and instead wants to question the police officer about the arrest and fight back. More than likely, the officer is going to respond by using force to handcuff the person, whether that means forcing the person’s arms behind their back or worse. To avoid any confrontation and to ensure your safety, the best thing to do is to cooperate. Remember that cooler heads will prevail.
- Stay silent. Everyone has heard of the Miranda warning, which means that everyone knows that they have the right to remain silent. Unfortunately, 99% of people do not exercise that right. Instead, from the moment that they are arrested, they start talking, whether it’s asking questions, smarting off to the officer, or just trying to explain how the officer has the wrong person. This is probably the single biggest trap that people fall into. Remember that every time you speak, whatever you say has a good chance of being used against you later.
- The ONLY exception to being silent is to tell the officer that you want your lawyer. From the moment that you are arrested, the officers will try to gather as much information against you as possible. One of the main tactics that they use is to try to get you to talk with them (think good cop, bad cop). Don’t fall for it. From the moment that you are arrested, the first and only thing that you should say is that you want your lawyer. At that point, all questioning from the officers should stop immediately. They may still try to talk or interrogate you after they’ve taken you to the police station, but you should still tell them that you want your lawyer.
These are the three biggest tips that any criminal defense lawyer can give. Law enforcement will try to get you to make one these mistakes because they know that it helps the State’s case. On top of that, the sooner that you make a mistake like the ones discussed, the harder it will be for you to combat it later. Don’t do the State’s job for them. If you or someone you know is arrested, follow these three bits of advice and call an experienced criminal defense lawyer ASAP.