If you’ve been arrested for a crime (whether or not you committed one), it can feel like an overwhelming and even terrifying event, as every move you make is scrutinized and can mean the difference between walking free and serving a prison sentence. But remember that knowing the right steps (as well as your rights) will go a long way in making the process smoother and possibly getting you out of custody faster. Hopefully you may never need this information, but if you do, be sure to follow these 3 tips to make sure you remain safe and protected during your arrest:
Remain Polite and Calm
If you’re falsely accused of a crime, the best thing you can do is to remain calm and polite. Yelling at the arresting officers won’t help your case, and acting with respect can make the process much smoother. Try to stay as calm as possible until the situation is rectified, as any additional undue stress resulting from anger or impatience can make some act out in a way that will only dig the hole deeper. Take a few deep breaths and then proceed to the next step.
Remember the #1 rule of criminal law: You do not speak to the police until your lawyer is present. Even if you are completely innocent, you want to be sure that nothing you say will be used against you. Beyond giving your name and address, you are not obligated to say another word without a lawyer, so with a polite but firm tone, explain that you would like your lawyer present and don’t feel obligated to say another word.
Call Your Lawyer
The instant you have the opportunity, contact a lawyer for assistance. If you don’t have a lawyer and require a court appointed attorney, specify that to the arresting officers and then wait for a public defender to arrive. Remember that the law is complex and no matter your guilt or innocence, it’s just better to have a seasoned professional on your side to make sure you are processed (and hopefully released) as quickly as possible.
Whether or not you’ve committed the crime you’re being arrested for, you need to know your rights. Don’t feel like you need to be helpful or cooperative, or think that being silent will make you seem guilty. Instead, remember that making missteps can be detrimental, and it’s in your best interest to have a lawyer there at your side for as much of the process as possible. Remember these 3 steps if you’re ever arrested for a crime, and you’ll be well on your way to due process and putting it behind you.