Often, an arrest begins with a phone call from a precinct or police headquarters. In the most common scenario, a police officer calls and asks a person to come down to the station to be asked a few questions. Don’t be fooled by this seemingly innocent request. If the person goes to the precinct, he or she will most likely be arrested.
Instead, the person should take this opportunity to contact a Criminal Defense Attorney. If there is a warrant for the person’s arrest, the attorney can talk to the police and inquire as to the basis for the warrant and even negotiate a convenient time to surrender.
Once a person is taken into police custody and interrogated, the police are obligated to inform him or her of certain rights, known as Miranda rights. Miranda v Arizona, 384 US 436, 86 S Ct 1602, 16 L Ed 2d 694 (1966). These constitutional rights stem from the protections guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and the Sixth Amendment right to counsel. The police must inform the suspect that he or she has:
(1) The right to remain silent; and
(2) The right to an attorney. If the suspect cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided.
Notice that there is no right to a phone call. Despite the portrayals on TV, there is no right to make a phone call. Therefore, it is even more crucial to know your rights. Now that you know your rights, let’s take a look at how to a person should effectively assert these rights once arrested.
First, ask for an attorney! Whether or not you have retained an attorney, asking for an attorney will cease all questioning until your attorney arrives or until one is eventually provided (likely at arraignment).
Second, do not make any statements to the police. Aside from your name address and date of birth, you should not tell the police anything because any statement will be used against you. Police will often try and convince you to talk by offering to “help you out” if you tell them “what happened.” Experience has shown that this is a ploy to extract an incriminating statement. By keeping quiet until you have the assistance of an attorney, you will help you set your case in the right direction and help ensure the most beneficial final resolution.
To learn more about your rights, contact one of our Criminal Defense Attorneys. How you respond in the moments after your arrest sets the tone for the remainder of your case.