So you got arrested
By Joseph Parish
A glance at the local newspaper or a quick glimpse of the evening news channel will quickly reveal how we as Americans are rapidly losing our cherished freedoms. As such we can expect that the authorities may in the future begin using methods which border on intimidation in order to force us into submission. This article was meant to provide the average person with a slight insight into what your rights are if you happen to be accused of a crime.
Frequently when a person is arrested by the authorities they are rightfully afraid. After all they have no idea what may be in store for them once they are placed in custody. They quickly become bombarded with many strange words and procedures that they are unfamiliar with. They are introduced to legal rulings that they may never have heard of previously. Although it would be impossible to list rulings and procedures that would apply to all our states in general most are very similar. In addition our criminal system is certainly far from fair but as it stands that is the only one we have at this time.
Let me start out by saying that if at all possible gets yourself a good criminal lawyer immediately. The local bar association may be of use in this respect or perhaps a relative or friend can set you up with an attorney to take your case. If your attorney is practicing law in the area where your case is being heard then all the better, for he will have some idea as to where you would stand in relation to the judges and other attorneys.
It is advisable that you do not answer any questions until you have the benefit of an attorney at your side. The sooner you obtain such services the better off you will be. Keep in mind that there are many decisions that must be made in order to protect your rights. Many people believe the police to be their friend when they are accused of a crime. Nothing could be further from the truth. A law enforce4ment officer has one goal and that is to make an adequate case against a suspected criminal perpetrator. They may mislead you if you are willing to talk to them and it is highly likely that you could be placed under arrest as a result of things you may have revealed to them.
Be weary of police comments such as “We will go easier on you” or “a friend has implicated you, in a crime.“ These are merely techniques used to obtain a confession of guilt. They will ultimately use what you say against you. Never make any sort of confession of guilt. As we have stated speak with your lawyer first. There is nothing wrong with providing the police with your full name, your address, your date of birth and other important vitals however, don't answer questions which may concern the crime or as to your where-a-bouts at the time it occurred.
If you happen to be incarcerated be careful what statements you make to cellmates as they too can be used against you. It is possible that one of them may wish to strike up a deal with the authorities by becoming a witness against you.
Never consent to a search of your car, home or person. Don’t allow yourself to be in a lineup. Don’t physically resist the officers but express your objections to the police and request your attorney. Avoid resisting arrest and do not become verbally abusive of the officers as you may find yourself being charged with additional crimes.
Police officers can arrest you without first obtaining a warrant if for some reason the officer suspects or sees you committing a crime. The proper wording here is “probable cause”. In such cases it would do you no good to pledge your innocence since they are certain to have heard it from everyone they arrest.
After you have been arrested you will arrive at the police precinct and will likely be searched again, properly fingerprinted and perhaps photographed. You will then be processed further at possibly another location. Delays are encountered as your fingerprints are sent to your state capital or to the federal authorities to check for a potential criminal record or for outstanding warrants.
You will finally be brought into the court for official arraignment. This could be a long drawn out affair considering the backlog of court cases and crowded court rooms processed on a daily basis. During the arraignment your lawyer will tell you exactly what you are charged with and offer you advise on how to preserve your rights.
When it is time to go to court remember to dress accordingly. Dress as you would in the event you were going to a semi-formal social function. Your goal in this case is to look presentable. It is very important that you present a good impression on the court and the jury if so involved.
There is a considerable amount of information that has not been covered here and I would highly recommend that you consult with an attorney if you encounter problems involving the law or the law enforcement personnel.
Copyright @ 2009 Joseph Parish