What to Do If You Get Arrested

May 17, 2017

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably never thought about what to do if you get arrested. It’s likely the furthest thing from your mind. As improbable as getting arrested may seem right now, knowing what to do if you ever find yourself on the other side of the law is a good idea. You’re less likely to panic and go into a tailspin, which will only make a bad situation worse.

If you should ever get arrested, here are a few legal tips that can help you during the process.

Co-operate with the police but don’t say more than you have to.

Chances are you’ve seen thousands of police shows on TV, and heard something along the lines of, “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law,” when someone is being arrested.  In legal terms, this is known as the Miranda law, and while your natural instinct might be to protest loudly and fight back if you’re being arrested, keeping quiet is actually very good advice.

Having said that, if the police ask you for your name, date of birth, and address, you should respond politely with that information. You also have the right to ask why you are being arrested. Otherwise, remain silent. It’s best to wait until your attorney gets there…which brings us to the next point.

Notify your attorney.

If you are taken to the police station, you do have the right to a telephone call to advise someone of your arrest, and the best person for this situation is your lawyer. Don’t give out any information about your arrest on the call, because it’s probably being monitored by the police. Once your lawyer has been advised, just wait. If you don’t have an attorney, one can be appointed for you.

Don’t answer any questions until your attorney arrives.

You have the right to decline to answer any questions, and to refuse to sign a statement, until your lawyer gets there. Once you have alerted your lawyer, the police should ask you nothing more until he or she arrives. Remember that any information you volunteer can be held against you at a later date.

If you are booked, you will be photographed and have your fingerprints taken. In addition, your personal property will be taken away and locked up for safekeeping. This typically includes car keys, money and jewelry. Pay close attention to ensure that all your personal items are adequately documented on the ‘voucher’ you’re given, so that you can verify that everything is returned to you when you’re released from custody.

If you’re not booked but remain detained after several hours have passed, your attorney can request that you appear before the court to challenge your detention.

Keep this advice in mind if the unexpected happens and you get arrested. It will give your best shot at clearing your name.