What to Do if You’ve Been Arrested
Being arrested or accused of a crime can feel like a nightmare. It’s a jarring experience, and it’s easy to get caught up and lose your better judgment. If you are under arrest, you have certain legal and constitutional rights. Taking the right steps after your arrest ensures that your rights are protected and you are setting yourself up to build the strongest defense available against the charges. Read on for tips on what to do and what not to do after an arrest. If you’ve been arrested for a crime in South Florida, call a West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyer at The Law Office of Scott N. Richardson, P.A. today.
Do Not Resist Arrest or Use Force
In most situations, you do not have the right to resist arrest. Even if your arrest is ultimately illegal, you still might not have the right to resist arrest. If you resist arrest, especially if you use force against police officers, you’re likely to create many more problems for yourself. You can be charged with additional crimes, including assault and battery of a police officer. If you cause them serious injuries, the consequences could be even worse. Moreover, the police may use extreme force in return, which can cause you substantial injury. Fight your case in the courts, not on the streets.
Invoke Your Rights and Stay Silent
When you’re arrested, you have the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. These are two very important rights. The police will try to question you, hoping that you’ll reveal something incriminating. Be cordial and polite, provide basic identifying information like your name and address, but do not say anything else. You can and should invoke your rights: “I wish to remain silent and I would like an attorney.” The police are not allowed to continue questioning you if you unequivocally state your desire to remain silent and speak with a lawyer.
If you start talking after you invoke your rights, however, whatever you say can be used against you. When you volunteer information, you are waiving your right to remain silent until you speak with your lawyer. Do not try to protest your innocence or explain yourself. Your silence cannot be used against you, but whatever you say can.
Get a Qualified Criminal Defense Lawyer
While you can represent yourself, it’s strongly advisable to get a lawyer on your side as soon as possible. The Constitution guarantees you the right to an attorney, including the right to a public defender if you cannot afford an attorney. You should be given the opportunity to make a phone call, either to a friend or family member, a bail bondsman, or a lawyer. Use that opportunity.
Call a criminal defense lawyer if you know one, or call a trusted family member or friend to get you a lawyer. If you can’t afford a lawyer, ask to have one appointed. Having a good lawyer on your side can mean the difference between sitting in jail and being let out on bail, and the difference between facing the harshest charges possible or facing no charges at all.
Contact Our Seasoned West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
If you’ve been arrested or charged with a crime in Florida, you need a dedicated criminal defense team in your corner. The criminal defense legal team at The Law Office of Scott N. Richardson, P.A. is ready to help protect your rights, your future, and your freedom. We help defendants charged with all types of misdemeanor and felony offenses. Contact our seasoned West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyer today.