While no one wants to have a run-in with the law, sometimes it happens. If you find yourself under arrest, you might panic a bit and start wondering about the consequences of the situation. It’s advisable, however, to keep calm and focus on taking steps to ensure your rights aren’t violated in the process.
Here are five simple steps to protect your rights if you’re arrested.
Cooperate with the police.
When dealing with law enforcement, whether you’re innocent or not, never fight the officer who’s arresting you. Trying to resist arrest will only complicate your situation. You may also end up getting hurt.
If you feel there’s anything that is unjust or unlawful about your arrest, you should leave it to the court to handle. Don’t make the mistake of reaching into your pocket, unless instructed to do so. Otherwise, you risk being shot as the police may think you’re reaching for a weapon.
The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution grants you the right to remain silent when you get arrested to ensure you don’t end up incriminating yourself.
You can identify yourself when requested by stating your name and address or producing your state ID or driver’s license. Don’t respond to any other questions asked by the arresting officer. Instead, politely tell the officer that you won’t be answering any questions until you speak to your lawyer.
Don’t agree to a search.
If during your arrested the police ask to search you or your property, you have a right to decline politely. You should realize that the police usually only seek your consent when they don’t have a legal right to search you without your permission.
Therefore, don’t mistake the request for a demand. Remain calm, and only grant the permission for a search if you’re okay with it. Politeness is paramount in such situations, lest you complicate matters.
Take note of the events during your arrest.
It’s imperative that you take note of everything that happens during your arrest, as many things can go wrong. Your rights could be violated, for example. A detailed account of the events that occur during your arrest will play a significant role in your personal defense.
You should also take note of the people who witnessed your arrest, as they could testify about any harassment you faced in the hands of the police. It’s also worth noting that police cruisers normally have video surveillance that could be used to verify your allegations.
Speak to a Qualified Attorney.
As mentioned, after you’ve identified yourself to the police, you aren’t obliged to answer any further questions without your attorney present. It’s best to have an attorney selected just in case you’re ever arrested. If you search for, “Defense Attorney San Diego,” you’ll find a wealth of options.
Be sure to find an experienced and reputable one. Your defense attorney should be able to help you through every aspect of your case, including police interrogation, bail hearing, and plea bargaining. If you can’t afford an attorney, the court should appoint a defense lawyer to your case.
If you’re arrested, your experience through the ordeal will depend largely on how you understand and exercise your rights. The above points are solid-steps to ensuring you’re treated justly.