Dos and Don’ts of Criminal Arrest
If you are the subject of a criminal arrest, you must be aware of not only your rights, but also what is advisable and not advisable to do in that situation.
What follows are some dos and don’ts of a criminal arrest.
- DO exercise your right to remain silent until you have an attorney present.
- DON’T get aggressive or combative with police officers; it won’t help your case, and in fact, is likely to make the situation worse.
- DO ask for an attorney as soon as you suspect you are being placed under arrest; if you have already been placed under arrest, ask to speak with an attorney immediately.
- DON’T assume that getting arrested is no big deal. A criminal arrest, charge, and conviction can lead to jail or prison time, heavy fines, loss of your driver’s license or other privileges, and more. Take it seriously from the beginning through to the end of your brush with the justice system.
- DO refuse to give consent for a search of your person, your car, your house, or any other possession if the police do not have a warrant to search it. The police may try to use an argument like “exigent circumstances” to get around the warrant requirement, but that will be something that is taken up in court later; your best course of action at the time of arrest is to refuse to give consent. If you do give consent, any evidence found against you will likely be admissible in court whereas if you didn’t give consent and the police are found to have conducted an illegal search, any evidence found will likely be inadmissible.
- DON’T take the advice of a friend regarding what to say to the police, how to plead, etc. No matter how experienced your friend is as a defendant, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side.
- DO know your state’s law regarding what police requests you can refuse; in a DUI, for instance, some states have harsher penalties for those who refuse a breathalyzer, so do consult with a local attorney regarding such laws and provisions.
- DON’T wait until your case is coming up to trial to get a criminal defense attorney. The best time to find and hire a criminal defense attorney is as soon after your arrest as possible so he can be with you through the entire process, including having plenty of time to prepare for trial, if it comes to that.