What to Do If You Are Arrested

For most of us, “You are under arrest”‚ may be one of the most potentially life-altering statements a law-enforcement officer could say. Regardless of the circumstance and whether it is right or wrong, it is time to think clearly and prevent the situation from getting any worse than it is already.

Since “anything you say can and will be used against you,” there is no better time to remain silent and to ask for an attorney. Criminals tell the police they are not guilty 24/7. So, it is likely that anything you say to the contrary will change the existing circumstance.

When you get to speak with a lawyer, tell the attorney everything about the incident. Talking more than necessary to the arresting officers at the scene, the booking officer at the police station, or, if necessary, the detective that interview you after the arrest only increases the chances of getting into further trouble.

Never allow the police to do a search of you, your house, or your car. The officers must have your consent to do so. If there is a witness present, say something to the effect that they (the police) do not have your consent to do a search. If they come to your house, step outside to speak. Keep them outside of your house.

Be cooperative and courteous with the police. Follow their instructions explicitly. Do not talk back to the officers under any circumstance. While this should go without saying, it must be to ensure that it does not occur. Do not bump or touch anyone. The gray area here has a wide berth for interpretation. A creative write-up by an arresting officer could escalate a minor misdemeanor to a felony faster than you could say I want an attorney.