When the red and blue lights are flashing and you find yourself face to face with law enforcement, it could be for a variety of reasons. Perhaps you are being detained for questioning or you were witness to a crime, or perhaps you are being charged with a crime yourself. However it comes to be that you find yourself under arrest, there are a few things that you can do to make the process better and help ensure the best outcome for you. It is important that you understand proper etiquette and handle the situation in the best way possible. Because it is not likely that you are an expert in these matters, we have collected a few helpful tips for you.
Ask “Am I Under Arrest?”
First things first, ask the question “am I under arrest?” It is not always clear whether or not you are under arrest or just being detained. If the law enforcement officer directly tells you “you are under arrest” and names the charges against you, you can be sure that you are under arrest and should act accordingly. You may request a lawyer and refuse to answer questions. If you ask whether you are under arrest or not and you are told that you are just being detained, you may request to be released. Bear in mind that if you are a suspect or you were witness to a crime, you may not be released right away. If the officer says “no, you are free to go,” you should.
Don’t Consent to Anything You Don’t Have To
Unless you are under arrest, law enforcement cannot search you. If an officer requests to search you, you are within your rights to ask why, for what, and refuse. Bear in mind that if you are under arrest, it is in your best interest to answer honestly when law enforcement asks if you have any weapons on you as withholding this information and it is found on a search can be misconstrued as an attempted assault on a police officer and land you in much bigger trouble.
Do Not Resist
If you are placed under arrest, do not resist as this could lead to far more serious charges. Comply with the arresting officer while keeping the other tips we have listed here in mind. Whether or not you are guilty, adding “resisting arrest” to the list of charges will hurt your case and can make you look guilty even if you aren’t. Opt for the best outcome and go along with the arrest, knowing that you can prove your innocence.
Stay Inside and Don’t Let Law Enforcement In
If you are at home and police come to question you, talk to them at the door without stepping outside your home nor allowing them to enter. If they have reason to believe that you have committed a felony, they will be entering your home and arresting you as soon as you answer the door as they do not require an arrest warrant. For any other situation, to enter your home they either need your permission or a warrant. Do not believe their tactics to gain entry into your home where they can place you under arrest and search your home.
Maintain Your Bearing
When you find yourself detained, it is easy to become defensive and angry. When you are stressed and facing difficult situations that are unfamiliar and hold uncertain outcomes, it may be difficult to keep your attitude in check. However, it is very important to the outcome of the situation and your case that you maintain your bearing, even when those around you may not be. When you speak to law enforcement be respectful and avoid antagonizing or arguing. Never react physically as this can be viewed as an attempted assault on a police officer which can make matters so much worse.
”Plead the Fifth”
When law enforcement officers are questioning you about anything, it is a good idea to limit what you say and only answer questions directly while offering the minimum information required. If the questions are directed at a crime you allegedly committed, you may “plead the fifth,” or invoke your right to remain silent. Remember that anything you say can and will be used against you. Also remember that law enforcement is allowed to trick you, lie to you, or attempt to confuse you as a tactic to gain information. Even if you do not have a lawyer yet, you are legally allowed to request a lawyer rather than offering answers to the questions. Be careful, even once you have consulted with a lawyer, law enforcement may even attempt to make small talk or take advantage of your stress levels to gain small pieces of information.
Maintain Your Innocence
If you are ever charged with a crime, it is important that you remember that you are innocent until proven guilty. Law enforcement and prosecutors will have to build a case, including evidence against you before you can be found guilty. It is important that you continue to present yourself and speak as though you are innocent, at all times. Avoid offering evidence or giving answers to incriminating questions. Hiding evidence or changing answers can be more incriminating than the truth of a crime committed. Do not waver in your position and remember that you can refuse to answer questions.
Don’t Discuss the Case With ANYONE
We cannot stress this enough. Do not discuss the case with anyone — your mom, best friend, or your partner in crime. When you discuss the case, details may be altered and information that may not have otherwise been found could be accidentally divulged. Whatever you do, do not post anything about the arrest or the case on social media. In fact, it is a good idea to halt all social media posting until the case is completely settled. Anyone that you know are potential witnesses and could be questioned, so the less they know, the better. The only one you should discuss any part of your case with is your lawyer.
Hire a Lawyer
If you, like most people, don’t have a lawyer on retainer or an attorney’s phone number saved in your phone, you can still request to have a lawyer present. If you are under arrest, law enforcement must enable you to consult with a lawyer, be it a court-appointed one or one you hire. If you need criminal defense in Colorado Springs, call the Law Offices of Murphy & Price, LLC. Our legal team will immediately begin building your case and come to your defense. If you remember the tips listed here and contact us as soon as you are arrested, you can feel confident that you have set yourself up for the best possible outcome. Contact us today!