SO YOU'VE BEEN ARRESTED

There are ways you can make or break your defense of a criminal charge with things that you say and do in the moments surrounding an arrest. Keep these four tips in mind if you're ever placed under arrest. 

  1. Confirm whether or not you're in custody. Police will often ask as many questions as possible prior to arresting you, when you're likely to be more at ease and prone to answering questions. If you're uncomfortable with the questions you're being asked, you may always decline, respectfully, to answer them. If you are beginning to wonder if you should have your lawyer present before you continue speaking with police, you can ask, "Am I allowed to leave?" or, "Am I under arrest?" While the officer may still arrest you at a later date for the offense they suspect you committed, if they do not yet have sufficient evidence to arrest you, they may permit you to go. This window of time might give you an opportunity to speak with a criminal defense attorney and begin to plan a defense to any charges.
  2. If you are placed in custody, do not resist the officer, talk back, spit, try to run, etc. No matter how dubious the grounds on which you're being arrested, fighting the cops or trying to run will always end badly for you. Plus, even if you're not tried for the crime they think you committed, you can still end up being found guilty of resisting arrest or assaulting an officer if you behave badly when you're taken into custody.
  3. Take careful note of everything that happens during your arrest. When you're placed under arrest, you have certain rights, including a right not to be subjected to unwarranted force by the arresting officer and a right to receive a Miranda warning, alerting you to your right not to answer questions without an attorney present, as the things you say can be used against you in court. Take note of the names of your arresting officers, as well as what happens during or after your arrest, so that you can later discuss any violations of your rights with your attorney. If you never receive a Miranda warning, this is an especially important fact for your attorney to learn, as it will exclude anything you may have said to the police at any point after your arrest.
  4. Don't speak to the police without an attorney present, and ask to talk to your attorney at every opportunity. The officers may try to trick you into talking to them, and they are not confined to telling the truth while doing so. Don't allow yourself to possibly fall victim to a trap-ask for your lawyer to be present immediately, and decline to answer any other questions without your lawyer present, no matter what.

If you've been arrested in New Jersey and need an experienced criminal defense attorney to advise you and represent you, contact Morristown law firm Smith & Doran for a consultation, at 973-292-0016.

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