What Should I do if I get Arrested?
Hopefully you’ll never get arrested, but if you do it can be a very difficult experience, but it doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world for you. In this article are some tips to help prevent you from saying or doing something that could possibly be used against you later down the road.
The Golden Rule: Don't Talk to the Police
This advice is repeated time and time again that it may seem pretty obvious by now. Unfortunately, we tend to do things we shouldn’t when we start to panic. If a police officer puts you in handcuffs and reads you your miranda rights, then don’t say anything. If you do decide to say something, then make sure the only thing you say is that you are invoking your right to remain silent and you would like your attorney present before making any additional statements.
When the police say “anything you say can and will be held against you”, trust them, they mean it. The police may try to persuade you to speak up or give a confession to make their job a little easier, even if that means they have to act like your friend until they put you in a cell and slam the door. Don’t take the bait.
If you would like a deeper dive into the reasons not to talk to the police, check out this lecture below by Law Professor James Duane from Regent University. It’s a long video, but well worth watching :
Keep Your Emotions in Check - Getting Arrested Doesn't Mean You're Guilty
Many people often times believe that a person who is arrested is automatically guilty. We can assure you that this is most definitely not the case. In fact, over 2,000 inmates have been wrongfully convicted in the United States since 1989. This is just people who have faced conviction, arrests happen far more often! Being arrested for a crime just means that someone thinks you committed an illegal act and police suspect you of committing that act. You are only considered guilty of a crime after you have went to court and either pleaded guilty, or you were convicted by a jury of your peers in a criminal trial.
For this reason, it is crucial that you keep your emotions in check and continue to remain silent. You may want to get yourself out of an arrest as quickly as possible, but by the time an officer decides to arrest you, there is not way of convincing them to let you out. The best thing you can do for yourself is try to stay as relaxed as possible, let the police do what they think they need to do, and get in touch with a lawyer to speak to them on your behalf. If you panic about the arrest and try to talk them out of it, you are more than likely to end up in deeper trouble. Many people who have tried to become aggressive while dealing with the police have either received additional charges for their undesirable actions, or they have gotten physically injured because the officer(s) thought physical force was necessary.
Your Right to Remain "Silent" Applies to Written Confessions
Sometimes people get confused about what your right to remain “silent” covers, and police officers take advantage of this all the time. Silence absolutely applies to written confessions and testimonies, even if they’re technically “silent”, so if an officer asks if you would be willing to write one, do not comply. Your silence refers to not giving the police any kind of testimony, whether it is written, verbal, or through gestures.
If an officer persists on questioning you and you have invoked your right to remain silent, don’t take the bait either, just continue to remain silent and keep a mental note of the situation, because it could be used to your advantage. Police officers are not allowed to question you after you have chosen to stay silent and demanded a lawyer. There are plenty of rules and regulations that they must abide by and if they don’t, then they could run into trouble themselves.
What is a Coerced Confession?
If you read the fifth amendment, it states that people suspected of crimes cannot be forced to incriminate themselves. That means if a police officer forces you in some way, shape or form, to confess, then that police officer just violated the law and your confession may not be admissible in court.
In the past many officers have been accused, tried, and convicted of obtaining false confessions by use of verbal threats, physical threats, or through persistent questioning after a suspect has made his or her choice to remain silent and demanded an attorney. If this happens to you, then please let your attorney know and they will know how to properly deal with the situation.
Ignore Threats of Jail or Prison Time
If you are ever involved in a police interrogation, then you might be subject to a whole host of techniques that will try to get you to spill your guts. This often takes place even before they make a formal arrest, so you need to be careful any time the police try to speak with you. Whatever you do, don’t fall for it.There are several approaches officers may take to bait you into some form of confession, such as:
- Saying that if you do not say anything at this time you can get in bigger trouble and end up in jail or prison.
- If you were arrested with other people, they may say that others have accused you of something and push you to respond to the accusation.
- They may pretend to be “on your side”, and that they need information now to help you or possible victims in the situation.
In any of the above cases, you must not take the bait. They are not on your side, and speaking to the right away will not make things easier for you or anybody down the road. After they get a confession of some form out they will swiftly hit you with an arrest. Do not accept a police interrogation without an attorney. If you do not have an attorney, kindly state that you would like an attorney present before being asked any additional questions.