What to do if you’ve been arrested?

When you are arrested, oftentimes you are brought into custody. This means you are unable to escape the situation. You may be detained or held for interrogation for a short period of time without being arrested if a police officer or another person suspects you are engaged in a crime. For example, if you are carrying a heavy box near a crime scene, an officer may hold you. Storekeepers may also hold you if they suspect you of stealing anything.

You are not required to answer any questions if you are arrested or detained, except to provide your name and address and to provide some identification if asked.

What am I entitled to?

If you are arrested, whether you are a citizen or a non-citizen, you have certain rights.

Before questioning you, the officer should inform you of the following, here are some things your criminal defense lawyer will want you to keep in mid:

# You have the right to silence.

# Whatever you say might be used against you.

# You have the right to be questioned in the presence of a lawyer.

# If you are unable to pay for a lawyer, one will be assigned for you.

These are your constitutionally protected rights. If you do not get these warnings, your lawyer may request that any comments you gave to the police not be used against you in court. However, this does not guarantee that your case will be dismissed. This does not apply if you provide information without being interrogated by the police.

Can I be questioned after being informed of my rights?

Only if you willingly give up your rights and understand what you are giving up may you be questioned with a criminal defense lawyer present. If you consent to the question and then change your mind, the questioning must stop as soon as you announce you want a lawyer. If the questioning continues after you want counsel and continue to speak, your responses may be used against you if you testify about anything else. You may be asked to provide tangible proof. For example, if you are suspected of driving while intoxicated, you may be asked to undergo a test to determine the level of alcohol in your system. If you reject the test, your license will be suspended, and your denial will be used against you in court. Once you have been booked, which means your arrest has been entered into official police records and you have been fingerprinted and photographed, you have the right to make and finish three free local calling calls.

When should I consult an attorney?

If you are arrested for a crime, especially a severe one, you should get legal counsel as quickly as possible. He or she knows what you should and should not say to law enforcement agents in order to prevent being misread or misunderstood. The criminal defense lawyer may also counsel you, your family, or your friends on the bail procedure.

Who is authorized to arrest me?

In most circumstances, all law enforcement personnel, including police officers, county sheriff officers, investigators in district attorneys or criminal defense attorney, and highway patrol officers, have the authority to arrest you whether they are on or off duty. You may also be arrested by a probation or parole officer.

What is bail and how is it determined?

In each state, a schedule determines the amount of bail (money or other security posted with the court to ensure your appearance). If you get a traffic ticket, you may be informed that you may forfeit or waive the bond instead of appearing in court. However, if you have any doubts, attend court so that a warrant for your arrest for failure to appear is not issued. Misdemeanors and crimes are not subject to bail forfeiture. Failure to post bail does not result in the charges being withdrawn, and it normally serves as a conviction for a traffic infraction.

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