Being arrested can be a frightening experience. When emotions are high, it can be difficult to fully understand what’s happening. In some cases, it can cause a person to act out of character, which could lead to additional legal problems.
It is important for individuals to be aware of things they should or shouldn’t do after an arrest. Understanding proper and improper actions can help avoid missteps that could hurt the criminal case later.
The Arrest Process
Law enforcement officials may take a person into custody if they have an arrest warrant, saw the individual commit a crime, or have probable cause to believe the individual violated the law. After making the arrest, the officer will take the person to the local law enforcement agency for booking, where the individual is fingerprinted, photographed, and logged into the system. The person will then be put in a cell until their first court appearance.
At each stage in the process, any action the arrested individual does or does not take can impact their case.
Below are some of the dos and don’ts following an arrest.
Remain in Control of Emotions
Understandably, this can be difficult. The criminal justice process may be unfamiliar, and many variables can affect the case's outcome. If the matter does not resolve favorably, the individual’s rights and future can be negatively affected.
That said, it’s important to try to stay calm. Arguing with officers or resisting in any way could result in additional criminal charges.
Refrain from Providing Too Much Detail to Officers
Defendants in criminal cases have the right to remain silent. Generally, they do not have to answer police officer’s questions and can’t be penalized for keeping quiet. However, they do have to give their name and other personal identifying information.
If someone has been arrested and they voluntarily respond to law enforcement officials’ queries, anything they say may be used against them in court. Even a seemingly harmless statement can be twisted to serve as evidence against the accused.
Contact a Responsible Adult
After being arrested, a person has the right to call someone and inform them of the situation. This individual must be trustworthy and responsible. They may be relied upon to help bail the defendant out of jail and secure legal representation.
Although it’s vital to give the contacted individual details about the arrest, it’s just as crucial not to give out too much information about the alleged offense or the incident leading up to it. The law enforcement agency may monitor the phone call and use any statements against the defendant.
Avoid Researching the Alleged Crime
People want to know what they’ve been accused of and what they’re facing. Going online and pulling up the statute for the alleged offense is understandable. However, researching beyond that by digging up information from unreliable sources can be detrimental to the individual’s well-being and the case.
Sometimes reading about similar cases and their outcomes can create greater stress because the results are not always favorable. This can make it seem as if the matter is hopeless and make it hard to consider the next steps.
Stay Off of Social Media
People often turn to social media to update friends, family members, and others about their lives. But doing so after an arrest may not be a good idea. Law enforcement officials routinely look at online accounts to gather evidence about alleged offenses. Talking about the incident can give investigators information to build a case against the accused. Even if the individual only posts about matters not related to the criminal case, officials could find a way to use them to link the person to the alleged crime.
Contact an Attorney
Having a criminal defense lawyer throughout a case is imperative. They understand the law and individuals’ rights and can provide guidance to help the accused avoid costly mistakes.
An individual should hire an attorney soon after they have been arrested. In the early stages of the case, the lawyer can advise on what to say during interrogations. They can also begin investigating the facts to start building a defense.
Do you need help fighting your criminal charge in Cleveland? At Patituce & Associates, we deliver counsel through all stages of a case, including pre-arrest investigations, police questioning, negotiations, and trials. Please contact us at (440) 709-8088.