It may be surprising to learn that more than 77 million Americans have a criminal record. Having a felony on your record can make it hard to get a job or find a place to live. As thos who have experienced will likely tell you, there is nothing as traumatic as being arrested for a crime. If you find yourself in this situation, you can reduce the damage done to your reputation as well as minimize the impact from your criminal record.
Rather than letting the stress of the arrest lead to more complications, it’s important to stay as calm as possible and be sure to avoid the following mistakes, if you are arrested.
Avoid Giving Officers Consent to Search Your Home or Car
In the moments after you are confronted by an officer, you will likely feel nervous and scared. Try to keep a clear head and do not let your emotions lead you to make poor decisions. In some cases, the officers you are speaking with will express an interest to search your car or even your home, depending on the circumstances. Some people feel like they have to comply with these requests, but this is not true.
If you refuse to allow the arresting officer to search your car or home, that is your right and your decision must be respected. If the officer does search your car or home after you have explicitly stated you do not give permission, any findings that could incriminate you will be inadmissible in court. Refusing to allow law enforcement to search your possessions is not an admission of guilt. It is an attempt to protect your well-being in the event that something incriminating is found during this search.
Never Answer Questions Without Your Lawyer Present
Police officers are trained to obtain as much information from a suspect as they can. Obtaining the right information allows a police officer to build a case against the person they are arresting. Whether you are guilty or innocent of the crime you are being charged with, avoid answering questions alone, if you can help it. Even if you don’t think you are saying anything wrong when answering these questions, the information provided could be misconstrued or used against you at a later time.
This is why you should avoid divulging any information about the crimes you are being charged with until you have a lawyer present to represent you. With a lawyer present, you can get advice on how to answer certain potentially incriminating questions.
Don’t Resist Arrest
During an arrest, you may feel like you are being wrongly accused or falsely imprisoned. Allowing your emotions to get the better of you in a situation like this can make matters much worse. If you pull away from an officer trying to put you in handcuffs or become combative in any way, you may be charged with resisting arrest.
The last thing you want to do is increase the number of charges being levied against you, which is why it is important to stay calm and cooperate with the officer’s requests. If you are being arrested for something you didn’t do, you will have a chance to explain your side of the situation. With the help of your lawyer, fighting the charges against you will be much easier if you have not made the situation worse.
Handling These Problems Correctly
As you can see, there are a number of mistakes you can make during an arrest. When you arrive at the jail, your first call needs to be to a legal professional. The sooner you call a lawyer, the faster you will be on your way to a favorable outcome. A lawyer will be able to give you information on the charges against you and help develop a strategy to hopefully regain your freedom, felony-free.