What You Should Do Immediately After an Arrest
Being arrested is chaotic and frightening. From the flashing lights to the sirens to the tightening of the handcuffs, you may feel overwhelmed and at a loss as to what to do next. That is completely understandable. However, a slip-up could result in a conviction, so knowing what to do and what not to do is paramount when it comes to being arrested.
Remember Your Rights
Most people understand the gist of the Miranda Rights. However, they don’t really take in what their Miranda Rights actually mean. You are not required to answer any questions posed to you by the police, and are free to keep your silence during an interrogation. Even if the officers use coercive tactics, such as threats, plea deals, and even violence, you are legally allowed to keep your silence.
We would highly recommend exercising this right. Even if you are innocent of the alleged crime, police officers may try to use your words against you. What you thought was just innocently answering the questions posed to you could turn into a confession without you even noticing. By exercising your right to remain silent, you guarantee the best possible outcome for yourself. Being pressured into speaking could prove to be a grave mistake that you regret for years to come.
Call Your Attorney
Your Miranda Rights also stipulate that you have the right to an attorney, as well as the right to have one provided for you. The police who arrested you may try to delay your attorney, or keep him from you completely, but having an attorney present is a right that you have while on American soil. If an officer keeps your attorney from you, then he is in violation of the law.
You should call your attorney the moment you are able to. This may mean waiting until after your photo has been taken, your fingerprints have been recorded, and you have been searched. The booking process can take some time; however, as soon as you have been booked and processed, you should request a phone in order to call your attorney. If you do not already have an attorney, you should contact a responsible family member who can find one for you and send them to the police station.
Let Your Attorney Do the Talking
Once your attorney has arrived at the station, you should follow all of their instructions. They will likely ask you to remain silent as they field questions from the police. Your attorney will know what questions should be answered and what should be ignored. While the police are often painted as paragons of honor and honesty, they often pull tricks to trap those they have deemed to be guilty. This includes questions designed to trip you up or aggravate you. With an attorney shielding you from the worst of these trick questions, it is far less likely that you will be pushed into admitting things you don’t have to or giving a false confession.
Keep Your Cool in Court
If the district attorney decides to move forward with your case, then you will have to make several court appearances. The trial process is long and can be emotionally taxing. You may be tempted to lose your temper or speak out in your own defense. However, that would be a serious mistake. Speaking out of turn will not endear you to the judge or the jury. In fact, it will probably diminish their view of you, making it more likely that they will find you guilty.
Just as in the interrogation, you should allow your attorney to take the lead. If your attorney has the proper skills and expertise, they will know who to question, what evidence to present, and what questions to ask. Your job will be to remain quiet and respectful. If you are put on the stand, then you should answer questions as they are posed, and not offer any information you do not have to. However, you should never lie, as lying under oath is against the law, and could ultimately hurt your case.
At the end of the day, your best bet for walking away from your trial without being sent to jail is to get an attorney and follow their lead. Whether you have been charged with a state crime or a federal one, the criminal justice system is complex, and full of legal pitfalls, traps, and coercion. You should rely on someone who knows the courts like the back of his hand. You need a criminal defense attorney who can fight on your behalf, like the ones at Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP. Our team of Los Angeles attorneys can help you get the outcome you want from your trial. Call us at (213) 688-0460 today.