Being arrested means that you are taken into custody and not free to go. You can also be legally detained for a short period of time for questioning if you are suspected of being involved in a crime. If you are arrested or detained you do not have to answer questions except to give your name and address and show identification if asked.
The most important thing to remember is, after identifying yourself, do NOT say anything that could incriminate you and make matters worse. Do NOT offer information. You do not have to help the police do their job.
Remain calm and do not argue with the police. It will not help and may only make matters worse. Try to remember as much as you can about what happened when you were stopped and when you were arrested. This information could be useful in your defense.
What Should You Do Once Arrested?
Let the police know you want to talk to an attorney. Once you do this the police should not continue to ask you questions.
In Miranda v. Arizona, the United States Supreme Court held that before police may question a person in custody, they must advise the person of certain rights. These rights, commonly called the Miranda Rights, are now generally as follows:
- You have the right to remain silent.
- Anything you say may be used against you.
- You have a right to have a lawyer present while you are questioned.
- If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you.
The police will often read these rights, usually off a preprinted card, if they intend to question you. After reading them to you, they will question you in an effort to get you to incriminate yourself. They will write down your statements, and often ask you to sign a written version. Answering questions but refusing to sign a written statement doesn’t help you. Oral confessions can be just as damaging as signed written ones. Answer no questions until you have spoken with an attorney. If the police neglect to read you your rights it could result in a major blow to the case against you.
Also, remember that Miranda is limited to custodial interrogation. If you are not in police custody, such as in conversation on the street or over the telephone, the police can generally question you without reading your rights. And if you are in custody, but spontaneously volunteer statements (not in response to questioning), the police can write down your words and use them against you in court.
Call Mark Herman, criminal defense attorney, as soon as possible. Mark can advise you of your rights while in police custody and help protect you from hurting your chances in court.