Common Mistakes to Avoid After Being Arrested

Close up of man's hands in handcuffs

There are few experiences as traumatic as getting arrested. Whether you are arrested immediately after an incident or have the police showing up at your home early in the morning, when you get arrested you are going to go through an entire range of emotions, often in just a matter of seconds. What is going to happen to me? Is my career over? Will I be spending the rest of my life behind bars? These feelings are common for most justice-impacted people. Fortunately, you have rights and your criminal defense attorney here in Kentucky will help defend you against the charges brought against you. The key is to make sure you avoid making these common mistakes that others have made when they were arrested. 

1. Resisting Arrest

Even if you think you are innocent and that the police are making a mistake, do not do anything to prevent them from going forward with the arrest. The police, as well as federal agents from the FBI, have the authority to arrest individuals they suspect of having committed a criminal offense or to execute an arrest warrant. Resisting arrest is in and of itself a crime.

Examples of resisting arrest are trying to flee from the arrest, refusing to cooperate with the arresting officer, and even arguing with him or her. Follow their instructions and do not say or do anything that can be construed as being uncooperative. If you have been roughed up, mistreated, or abused by the police, resist the urge to fight back. Instead, tell your attorney so that he or she can file a complaint on your behalf.

2. Not Knowing Your Rights

When you are arrested, the police officer will read you your Miranda warnings. This is a mandate from the United States Supreme Court and is required anytime a law enforcement officer makes an arrest. Failure to read a person their Miranda rights can lead to a dismissal of the arrest, as well as any evidence obtained during and immediately afterward. 

The text of the Miranda warnings lets a person know that he or she has the right to remain silent. They are also told that anything they say may be used against them in a court of law. The person is advised that they have the right to an attorney and that if he or she cannot afford one, the court will provide one. The officer will finish by confirming that the person arrested understands this. If this is you, answer “yes” if you understand what the police officer just said. But, do not agree to speak unless you have a lawyer present.

3. Not Remaining Silent

Many people feel the need to explain themselves to other people, especially if they believe they have been falsely accused of something. They may not want others to think badly of them, or they may be under the impression that they can talk their way out of anything. If this sounds like you, then you should resist the urge to talk to the police. The only question that you must answer is, “What is your name?” Other than that, you should invoke your right to remain silent. When the police advise you that anything you say can and will be used against you in court, this is a very true statement. Once you have been read your Miranda warnings, whatever you say, however seemingly innocuous, can only complicate your case. 

4. Search Me?

The police do not have the right to search your home, your car, and any of your possessions without a search warrant. As a result, there are some law enforcement officers who may ask you, “May I look around?” If they do not have a warrant, always answer, “No.” You have a Constitutionally protected right to privacy. Do not waive this. Just like talking to the police, anything they find can be used as evidence against you.

5. Talking About Your Case

Once you have been arrested, you should only discuss your case with a lawyer. Anyone who you talk to can be called as a potential witness against you. Always keep in mind that any conversation that touches on the charges brought against you can do nothing to help your case, and may actually prejudice your rights.

When you are arrested and taken into custody, the police will take you to the local precinct to be booked. This is where the police fill out paperwork about the arrest while holding you in a temporary cell. You will probably not be alone. Avoid saying anything about your case to anyone there. The police will often put paid informants in holding cells in the hopes of getting around your Miranda rights by having them ask the questions the police cannot. Do not take the bait.

6. Not Getting a Lawyer

You are allowed to request to speak with a lawyer as soon as you have been read your Miranda warnings. If you know a lawyer, call him or her even if they do not practice criminal law. They will probably be able to refer you to an experienced criminal defense attorney who can assist you with your case. 

Whatever you say to an attorney outside the presence of third parties is protected by the attorney-client privilege. This means that the statements cannot be introduced into evidence against you. However, if you say something to an attorney with a third person present, you may be deemed to have waived the privilege, unless the third person is a paralegal or other person assisting your attorney with your case. So, always make sure you are in a secure spot before discussing your case with your lawyer.

If you decide to cooperate with law enforcement, you should do so only through your attorney, and should only speak to law enforcement with your lawyer present. Even if you think you are quite savvy, talking to the police can be a very perilous process. Only a seasoned criminal defense attorney can help protect your rights in this situation.

7. Pleading Guilty

After you have been booked, you will be transferred to a local courthouse for your arraignment. Your attorney or one appointed by the court will be there to represent you. This is where a judge will read the charges against you, ask for your plea, and set the terms of bail. Even if you committed the crime for which you have been charged, you should always plead, “Not guilty.” 

Your criminal case is a process, and it will involve examining the evidence against you, negotiating possible plea deals with the prosecution, and making sure your rights have been respected. The arraignment is just the start of a long process.

8. Not Posting Bond

Getting released after your arrest will allow you to help in your defense. It is very hard to fight criminal charges while incarcerated in a jail. Even though posting a bail bond can create financial hardship, it is worth the cost. This is why it is crucial that your attorney request your release while negotiating a bail amount that you can afford. 

If You Have Been Arrested in Kentucky, Contact Our Firm Today

When you have been arrested and charged with a crime, you should leave nothing to chance. Aside from making sure not to make any of the mistakes addressed above, you should call the Dickman Law Offices. Our team of experienced criminal defense attorneys will fight hard to protect your rights. Contact us today.

Posted in: Criminal Defense