This is a question I get asked a lot. It is understandable, as the thought of getting arrested for many people is scary. The process is something with which most people are not familiar. Knowing your rights and what to do if accused of a crime is important. In today’s blog, I will take you through a few things you need to know and do to put yourself in the best position.
Listen to Your Miranda Rights
If you have ever watched a crime show, then you are probably familiar with the Miranda rights. This is the statement that police officers make when arresting someone.
It will be something like: “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.”
This statement is designed to inform you of your rights and protect you from yourself in a system that is not always perfect. You have the potential, even if you’re innocent, of putting yourself at risk of incriminating yourself by speaking. Even something that is harmless-sounding could be misconstrued and get you in trouble. It is best to avoid saying anything at all.
If you are asked a question you should respond that you need to speak with your attorney. Politely refuse to answer any questions until your attorney is present. You cannot be forced to speak without a lawyer present and staying silent is advisable.
Don’t Allow a Search Without a Warrant
Police officers may show up at your door and claim the right to search your property because of your alleged crime or connection with a crime. Unless they present you with a certified warrant, you are not required to let them conduct a search.
It is important to understand that preventing a search is not an admission of guilt. You are simply protecting yourself and your rights. Remember, the law has safeguards in place to protect you. Refusing a search without a warrant is your right and is in your best interest.
Do Not Speak with the Media and Stay Off Social Media
In most cases, arrest records are public. This means reporters can see when someone has been arrested. They may seek you out for public comment. It can be tempting to tell your side of the story. This is another time that seemingly innocent statements can make it difficult for your attorney to defend you. Always seek the advice of your lawyer before speaking with the media or making a public statement.
Social media is another thing to avoid. Anything you write on social media is considered public comment and could be used against you in court. Commenting on anything to do with your case would be a mistake. If you have already made comments on social media, seek your attorney’s advice about what to do. Taking them down may not be your best move.