At one time or the other, we may find ourselves on the wrong side of the law. Sometimes knowingly or and at times, unknowingly. When something like this happens, you need to act smart by knowing your rights.
Getting arrested is scary, but that is why you need to know the full extent of the rights you have. Besides knowing your rights, it is essential to understand what you need to do in case of an arrest.
Below are some of the rights you have to know, just in case
1. Never consent to a search
When approached by a policeman, you should stay calm and put, even if you are innocent. Running away may signify you are guilty of what you are getting arrested for. You can calmly ask the law enforcer when you’re good to go. You can only go if the police officers instruct you to. However, if the officer begins searching you or your belongings, it’s better to decline since it’s within your rights to do so.
It would help if you never allowed any officer to explore you without your explicit consent. While refusing to be searched, you should remain calm and have some courtesy. This act of kindness will either make the police leave you or get you to the station without searching. Resisting or becoming violent may force the law enforcers to take other deemed actions.
2. When arrested, be silent and ask for a lawyer
Probably, this is the area where most people go wrong. When you are under police arrest, the best thing you can do is ask for a lawyer. You shouldn’t give your version of the story or answer any questions asked by the police. The best answer you can give is to talk to your lawyer. The legal experts from Koehler Law in Washington DC advise that your rights are protected only if you decline to speak without your lawyer present. An exception is when, for example, the police want you to clarify your name. Without a lawyer, you might make a statement that might land you directly in jail. Lawyers will help you answer such questions and find ways to make a case for your defense.
3. Don’t resist arrest
Whether you are on the wrong side of the law or the right one, you should never resist arrest. Resisting arrest is one of the mistakes which you can get charged for. When an officer decides to detain you, be calm, and follow the orders as instructed. Do not be tempted to fight the police whatsoever. It will be the biggest mistake if you do so.
Other than leading to prosecution, resisting an arrest may hurt you since the police will use power as accorded by the law. When getting arrested, keep your hands visible and cooperate with whatever you are told to do. Never reach for your pockets or approach the officer at close range. Such actions may make the officer shoot you or carry other precautionary measures.
4. Understand you can get a lawyer in any situation
When you get arrested, there is no need to worry, even if you don’t have a lawyer in your speed dial. If you don’t have one, you can talk to the officers and ask them how to get a lawyer to represent you. Since hiring a lawyer is somewhat expensive, some states like the US have public defenders for individuals who can’t afford to hire lawyers.
However, you should meet the requirements before getting the services of a public defender. What are the requirements? You need to provide your financial statements and also fill a questionnaire. Answers from the form will be examined to determine if you fit for a public lawyer or not. Ensure you are honest when providing such information.
4. Exercise care with your trust
After speaking to your lawyer, the police or interrogating officer might force you to talk to say something concerning your arrest. Such interrogations might make you feel scared, stressed, or tired. Never say anything to the police or any other person, other than your lawyer.
Wait until your lawyer arrives and put all your trust in them. Never compromise your rights by offering information to the law enforcers. The police might go the extra mile to lie to you or force you to talk to them. Avoid such tactics, be calm, and if you must speak, ask for your lawyer.
Hopefully, you will never be in a situation where you need to use this advice. However, it is essential to know your rights precisely and how you can protect yourself the best. Remember, anything you say to the police can and will be used against you.