I Have Been Arrested - Now What?

I Have Been Arrested - Now What?

If you or someone you know has been arrested, you are probably scared and confused. What should you do now? How can you make the situation better, or perhaps more importantly, how do you prevent making it worse?

Keep quiet

The only information you are required to give the police is your correct identity information. If you have been arrested, the police may try their best to get you to say something incriminating. It may seem that they are concerned for you and want to help you, but silence is your best friend at this point. They know you are afraid and they may use that fear against you. It is very important that you stay respectful and calmly state just one sentence: I want an attorney present. It is your right and they cannot prevent you from having a lawyer with you before you answer any questions. They may try to intimidate you into waiving that right, but do not give in.

Stay calm

It may be challenging, but it is essential that you remain calm when in custody. Remember, video cameras may be present, and law enforcement officers often make notes about your behavior. Do not give them any reason to be able to use your own actions/reactions against you in a courtroom.

Bail is set-Now what?

When you are notified that your bail has been set, request to make a phone call so you may contact someone to help you. It could be a family member, a friend or your attorney. When making your call, keep in mind that the police are probably listening. Do not discuss why you are in jail. Keep your call as short as possible and only talk about the necessities to arrange for your bail.

Released after posting bail-Now what?

Once you are out of jail, do not discuss your case with anyone except your attorney. Never tell anyone you are guilty of a crime. If that individual was called as a witness, they would jeopardize themselves if they withheld information you had given them. Discuss with your attorney how much you should tell your spouse.

Make a record of everything pertaining to the alleged crime

As soon as possible, write down everything you can recall about the incident that led to your arrest. Where were you? Why were you there? Who was there with you? Were their other people there? Were you read your rights? How were you arrested? What were you told when you were arrested by the police? Did you notice anything that felt out of place? Add time lines surrounding the circumstances. Write down any and as many details that pertain to your circumstance as possible, even if it seems unimportant to you it may be important information for your attorney. It is essential to do this while the event and surrounding circumstances are fresh in your mind. On the front cover of the notebook, write clearly:

"CONFIDENTIAL: FOR MY ATTORNEY ONLY"

Seek legal advice as soon as possible

The sooner you interview and select a defense attorney, the better. Your lawyer can immediately begin to assess your case and check for any improprieties. Try to find an attorney who specializes in the type of charges you are facing. Follow the attorney's directions and do not discuss your case with anyone else. Remember, you may have been arrested, but you have not been convicted. With the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney, you may never be.

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