It is very important to realize that if you are arrested for any crime, it can be tempting to do certain things due to being scared, upset, and confused about the situation. When I am speaking with someone after they have been arrested (or if they have not been arrested, but are the subject of a criminal investigation), I find quite often that they have done one or more things that they should not have when dealing with law enforcement.
The following are some key things that you should NOT do if you are arrested:
1. Stay calm and don’t talk. It is understandable and part of human nature to want to speak with the police and explain your side of the facts, or answer questions the police have for you. Bottom line- do not!You have a right to remain silent, for which such silence cannot be used against you. Law Enforcement is trying to put a case together, and while you may think speaking with them can help you, many times it does not, and your statements can be used against you. You want to claim you innocence, but remember, in our system, you are presumed innocent! Again, in short, keep calm and stay quite.
2. Don’t run or resist an officer. This seems self evident, but many times people have a fight of flight response when faced with a tense and emotional situation. Never run, for you could hurt yourself or others, and do not resist or obstruct an officer, as it can lead to more charges and things never need to escalate.
3. Don’t believe everything you hear or read. Law enforcement will use investigative tools to try and get you to speak with them, such as presenting documents or say things that actually are not completely accurate. Again, you have the right to remain silent, and best to keep quite.
4. Do not give consent to law enforcement to search your car or home. Unless the police have a search warrant, don’t let them in and decline to give consent for a search.
5. Don’t offer or agree to take a polygraph or stress test. These types of tests are highly unreliable, and even though you may not be deceptive, the results may say, inaccurately, otherwise. While in most states, such as Florida, these tests are inadmissible, law enforcement and prosecutors still use them as part of investigations.
If you have been arrested or charged with a crime, and if you would like to talk to a criminal trial law specialist, please give me a call at 386-257-1222. Our initial consultation is free.