Regardless of the kindness or understanding of a police officer, intimidation and fear are part of the arrest process simply because of the situation. No one intends on being arrested, and when the cuffs are secured, everyone feels vulnerable as control is taken away. However, even alleged criminals have rights, and it is your responsibility to understand those rights, protecting yourself from abuse.
Right to Know Charges
Always know what you are under arrest for. A police officer cannot place you under arrest without informing you of your indiscretions and legal faults. Until an officer places you under arrest, you are free, which means you do not need to submit to questioning. However, keep in mind that you can be held for the suspicion of a crime with enough evidence — even just circumstantial evidence. Still, the police can only hold you for so many hours before drafting and notifying you of formal charges.
Right to Remain Silent
As a prominent component of your Miranda rights, knowing when to remain silent is crucial. Do not speak with detectives or arresting officers other than to state your name and additional biographical information. Do not discuss specific aspects of the charges or your case without an attorney present. Everything you say is admissible in court. While it’s tempting to profess your innocence relentlessly, know that the more you speak, the higher the odds of you potentially saying something to hurt you. The detectives and arresting officers are not your friends, and they are not there to help you.
Right to an Attorney
Beyond keeping quiet, your most important right is to an attorney. Hire an attorney as soon as you are able. If you cannot afford an attorney, request a public defender at your arraignment. Remember, do not talk about your charges or the case until you have your attorney present. If detectives pressure you into talking with them, keep your answers to known facts. However, the best response is to say you refuse to answer without an attorney present. You have no responsibility toward the arresting officers, do not allow anyone to manipulate you.
Fear is rational when you are being placed under arrest. However, you cannot let that fear blind you to your rights. It is natural for the police to want a quick legal resolution, but your responsibility is only to yourself. Contact an attorney, like a criminal defense attorney in Fairfax, VA from May Law, LLP, at the earliest opportunity and refuse to answer questions until they are present.