What to do if you are arrested
Unfortunately, most people do not have an attorney standing by, ready for the first time they are arrested. The most dangerous time for the arrested is the period before they are permitted to speak with their attorney. This time is often longer than it should be, and may contain many challenges. With 33 years practicing as a criminal defense lawyer in New Jersey, I can help you get through this difficult situation.
When arrested, you should be read your Miranda rights. Included in the Miranda warning are:
- The right to remain silent,
- Anything you say can be used against you in court,
- You have the right to an attorney, and to have the attorney present while you are being questioned,
- If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.
What these rights mean is that you do not have to make excuses or statements regarding the situation you are in. You do not have to give an alibi, or discuss your whereabouts. You should not make any statements, oral or written, regarding why you were arrested.
My criminal defense practice has exposed me to countless cases where my clients were tricked into making statements before speaking to counsel that harmed their legal interests.
Do not sign anything voluntarily. If you are forced to sign, or initial something, write the words, “I want my lawyer” next to every spot they ask you to sign.
When you are arrested, you should:
- Ask to see an attorney.
- Tell the police your name and address; this is the only question you must answer.
- Relax, staying calm is the key.
- Do not resist, touch, threaten, or argue with any police officer.
- Do not consent to any search. If the police say they have a search warrant, ask for a copy. Do not interfere with the search.
- Ask if you are under arrest, or if you can leave. If you can leave, leave immediately and contact me or another criminal defense attorney.
- If you have been arrested, ask what you are being charged with.
- Stay silent. Anything you say can be used against you in court.
Remember that police are allowed to mislead, trick, and lie to you to get what they want. They are not trying to help you.
Being arrested is a frightening experience. Stay calm, stay silent, and seek the advice of an attorney as quickly as possible. If you have further questions, feel free to contact me. I can help you protect your rights.