What Not to Do After Being Arrested

Close-up. Arrested man handcuffed hands at the back

Most people never expect to be arrested, so when it happens it can be easy to say or do the wrong thing. The fear response, can make quick decision making a challenge under pressure. Here are some general guidelines on what not to do after being arrested.

  1. Don’t bother protesting your innocence. The arresting officer isn’t a judge, jury, or prosecutor and it’s not his or her job to determine if you’re innocent or not. And very likely, they don’t care anyway. In trying to change the officer’s mind, you may offer information that can actually hurt your case rather than help it. Hard as it may be, take the Miranda warning seriously that says, “Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.”
  2. Don’t run. It’s not likely you’ll be able to outrun an organized and trained field force that uses radio communication and may even have helicopter resources available. Also, running implies guilt and you may not actually be guilty despite how it feels when facing the arresting officers. When the prosecutor tells the jury that you ran after they arrested you it will likely not make a good impression on them. Don’t add resisting arrest to your charges as it can just make your case harder to defend.
  3. Don’t give permission for a search of your premises, vehicle, or anywhere else. If they have the right to search then they don’t have to ask for your consent. If they demand your car keys, make it verbally clear to them and any witnesses that they don’t have permission to search your vehicle. Witnesses to your non-consent may prevent the officers from being able to use what they find as evidence against you.
  4. Don’t give them information that can be used against you. For instance, if they’re searching your home or vehicle don’t look in the direction of where something is located that you don’t want them to find. Though they may seem as if they’re not paying attention, they are. If they ask who owns this or that item, don’t answer.
  5. Don’t resist the arrest. Don’t run (as mentioned above) but also don’t push against them or touch them in any way however lightly or innocently it may seem. Even the slightest of physical contact can be cause for charging you with assaulting an officer. That can turn a misdemeanor into a felony charge. It can also lead to them injuring you. Though talking back to the police or yelling at them isn’t resisting arrest, it can motivate them to find reasons to add more charges against you. Be professional, cooperate, and focus on the fact that you’ll soon have an opportunity to speak with your lawyer.
  6. Don’t believe everything the arresting officers or detectives tell you. It’s legal for them to lie to people they’ve arrested in an effort to get a confession or other damaging information.
  7. Don’t accept the officers’ offer to let you go inside your home or car to get dressed or any other reason. If you do go inside your home or car then they will likely escort you inside and then may have the legal right to search without a warrant.

For more information about your rights and responsibilities after an arrest, contact a local defense attorney today.