Nobody wakes up one morning expecting to get arrested. But hundreds of arrests occur each day in the United States.
Since getting arrested can be such a terrifying experience, it’s easy to make a situation worse. That’s why this article is so important.
Keep reading to learn about some of your essential rights when placed under arrest, and how you can use the law to your advantage.
The Right to Remain Silent
You’ve likely seen a movie or TV show where a person was told they had the right to remain silent. But what comes next, “Anything you say can and will be used against you,” is the most important part, illustrating why silence is golden.
The Fifth Amendment grants the right to refuse self-incrimination.
Self-incrimination ranges from admitting that you had a drink before getting arrested to confirming you were at the scene of a crime. As you’d imagine, giving even the slightest hint of self-incrimination can make an already bad situation much worse.
The Right to an Attorney
Leveraging the Fifth Amendment goes hand-in-hand with your right to an attorney. As a general rule, you shouldn’t speak to anyone until a lawyer is present.
Even if you can’t afford an attorney, the judicial system must provide you with a public defender so you can have a fair trial.
If you can afford it, a criminal defense attorney is a fantastic resource to have on your side. They’ll help you navigate the local court system, provide expert legal advice, and present a compelling argument on your behalf in court.
The Right to Refuse a Search Without Warrant
Say you’re pulled over for speeding and a police officer asks you to open your trunk. Something about it seems fishy.
And you’d be right! It’s illegal to search a person or their belongings without express permission or a warrant.
There is one major caveat, however: police officers can search your person if they have probable cause. That means they have reason to believe you’re harboring something illegal or you’re carrying a weapon you haven’t told them about.
At the time, there’s nothing you can do to fight a probable cause search. You can, however, sue the police department if you feel the officer was in the wrong.
The Right to a Single Phone Call
Once you’re placed under arrest, officers have three hours to allow you to make your phone call. Your best bet is to contact an attorney or family member who can post bail for you.
Again, you’ll want to be careful here. You’re still at risk of self-incrimination during your phone call, so try and keep things simple and plain, no matter how upset you are.
Explain where you are, why you’re under arrest, and how your loved one or attorney can help.
You Have Rights, Even When Getting Arrested
Don’t let getting arrested get the best of you. When push comes to shove, you’re not without a line of defense.
Keep these rights in mind and remember to avoid self-incrimination. With any luck, you’ll be free and clear in no time!
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