My Rights if I Get Arrested
A significant proportion of American citizens have been or will be arrested at some point in their lives, whether they are later convicted or not. Here are your rights should you ever be arrested.
Nearly 30 percent of US citizens have a criminal record. While this number is large (more than 100 million), there are even more arrests that don’t result in criminal convictions. With this in mind, there is a chance that you will be arrested at some point in your life. It can be confusing and upsetting when anyone is being placed under arrest. However, it is imperative that you know your rights in the event that you find yourself in this quandary. On June 13, 1966, the Supreme Court (via Miranda v. Arizona) established that suspected criminals must be advised of their rights before interrogation (typically during an arrest). The “Miranda Warning” must be read so that each citizen has an understanding of what they are allowed (i.e. the right to remain silent) to do during the interrogation process. They are in place to fortify your Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination. Learn more about your rights during an arrest below.
Understand Your Miranda Rights
While it is the duty of the arresting officer to advise you of your rights, it is your responsibility to understand what they mean. For instance, if you choose to speak after the warning has been given, it is imperative that you know the potential consequences of your words. Listed below are the key takeaways from the Miranda Warning.
- You have the right to remain silent during an interrogation
- Anything that you say during an interrogation can be against you in the court of law
- You have the right to consult with an attorney and have them present during any questioning
- If you cannot afford an attorney, one can be appointed to you
It is important to note that the Miranda Warning must only be given at the time of the arrest. Once you are in police custody, anything that you say can be used against you in court. Furthermore, police officers are not required to advise you of your rights if you are not already under arrest. Thus, anything that you say before an arrest can also be held against you in the court of law.
Things You Shouldn’t Do When Arrested
No matter the reason for an arrest, if you are already being placed under police custody, it is best to abstain from talking to the police until you have an attorney present. Additionally, it is in your best interest to stay calm, refrain from arguing with the police, and do not resist arrest under any circumstances. Remember, your actions and words will be used against you and could potentially influence a judge to give stiffer penalties. If you are arrested, staying silent until you have consulted with your attorney is the most recommended path.
Why it’s Important to Speak with an Attorney
According to criminal defense lawyer Parikh, consulting with a criminal defense attorney before interrogation will be immensely more beneficial than not doing so. Attorneys have spent years of their lives understanding the law, legal system, and your rights. It would be unfair to ask yourself to know and understand all facets of criminal law at the moment that you are being detained. An attorney will greatly decrease the odds of self-incrimination. Furthermore, an experienced criminal defense lawyer will conduct their own investigation to ensure that your rights have not been violated during the arrest process.