While you might understand that you’re entitled to certain rights when you’re arrested, you may not know how to use those rights. Getting arrested is also an unnerving experience that can leave you confused as to what to do or say. If you act inappropriately, you could be making your legal situation worse. This guide outlines the most important actions for you to take to protect yourself as you face criminal charges.
Prepare For Your Arrest
In many cases, there’s very little forewarning that you’re about to be arrested for a crime. Especially if it’s a case of mistaken identity, you may not have any advanced notice at all. However, if you do have reason to believe that the police will be interested in detaining you, it’s a good idea to prepare for that eventuality. You should set aside money for your bail and the retainer fee for North Carolina criminal defense attorneys. You should also discuss the possibility with a significant other to ensure they know what to do to help you. Being prepared can help you get through the process with fewer problems.
Don’t Resist Arrest or Run
It’s a common instinct to try to run from the police during a traffic stop or another type of adverse interaction with law enforcement. Even if you believe there’s no cause for your arrest, you should comply with the police officers and try to resolve the situation later. Running or resisting arrest will make you look guilty even if you have done nothing wrong. Additionally, resisting arrest or an attempt to flee will put your life at risk and risk the safety of others in the community. You can avoid violent confrontations by complying with the arresting officer.
Make Your Phone Call
After an arrest, you’re entitled to make one phone call, but it must be a local call. There are a couple of things you should know about making your phone call. First, you only get one call, so make sure you call someone who will answer the phone. Additionally, if you choose to call a lawyer, the police are prohibited from listening to anything that’s said between you and your lawyer. However, if you call someone other than an attorney, the police are permitted to listen in on the phone call, and they can use the conversation against you in court. In that situation, be sure to limit what you say on the phone, and you should keep your phone call brief.
Above all, it’s vital to your case that you remain silent while you’re in police custody. Many people assume this means that you shouldn’t talk to the police during an official interrogation. While that’s certainly true, the police use other tactics to try to get you to reveal incriminating information. Even though it might seem as though someone is engaging you in casual conversation, they may be trying to get you to admit guilt in a crime. Even other individuals in the jail may be trying to get information, which they can use to help themselves get a lighter sentence. The only person in whom you should confide is your own attorney. Otherwise, staying silent in all interactions can help you protect yourself from prosecution.
It’s also important to consult an attorney as soon as possible. If you haven’t been able to reach an attorney via your one phone call, you should ask a spouse or other loved one to find an attorney for you. Even if you don’t think you can pay an attorney, you should notify the police and request a public defender. Getting legal help early can make the difference in whether or not your case has a favorable outcome for you.