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Do's & Don'ts: When You Get Arrested in California - Know Your Rights - Tabibnia Law

Do’s & Don’ts: When You Get Arrested in California – Know Your Rights

Remember that you have the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney if you are arrested. These rights only work if you use them. If you are arrested, it is important to remain silent until your lawyer arrives. Inform your criminal defense attorney as soon as possible if you believe the police have violated any of your rights.

What is an Arrest?

A police officer may arrest a person whenever the officer believes that an offense has been committed and there is probable cause to believe that the arrested person committed it. Although most people are taken to jail after being arrested, the process of arrest often begins much earlier.
An officer may arrest a person if:

  • the officer witnesses the person commit a crime
  • the officer has probable cause to believe that a felony (a crime punishable by state prison) has been committed.
  • a judge has issued an arrest warrant because he or she believes there is enough evidence to suggest that the person named in the document committed a crime.

What should you do if you are arrested

  • Try to remain calm; panicking won’t help and is likely to cause more harm than good.
  • Be respectful of the police. Do not give the police a reason to believe or claim that you are a threat.
  • Ask to see the best Criminal Defense Lawyer immediately
  • You can (respectfully) ask the police officer if you are under arrest. If the answer is “yes”, you may inquire as to why; the police are not required to tell you why, but they may choose to do so.
  • Invoke your right to remain silent. Say, “I wish to remain silent and would like to talk to a lawyer.” Once you have invoked your rights, be quiet. Don’t try to give explanations, excuses or stories. If you have been arrested, it almost NEVER benefits you to talk to California law enforcement, even if the question seems harmless. Often, people say they don’t want to talk but do so anyway, only to see their statement used later against them in court. So, respectfully tell the police that you are invoking your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and not to talk to them without an attorney present. You can tell the police basic identifying information about yourself, however (such as name, etc.).
  • Try to obtain the police officer’s name and badge number. Try to remember what the police officer(s) looked like.
  • If the police claim they have a search warrant, politely request to see and review it. Do not assume that they have a warrant just because they say they do.
  • Place your hands in a place where they can see them.
  • If you are taken into custody, demand to have an attorney present before speaking with law enforcement.
  • Once in custody, do NOT talk to the police or inmates. Other inmates may try to talk to you in the hopes of getting a better deal for themselves by communicating what you told them to the police.
  • Also remember that conversations you have with any jail visitors, whether on the phone or in person, are being monitored and recorded. The conversation you have with your lawyer is confidential, however.
  • Under California Penal Code §851.5, if you are arrested you are allowed three (3) local telephone calls within three (3) hours after the arrestee is booked. More than three (3) telephone calls is at the discretion of the jailer. Use those phone calls.
  • Have the phone number of a friend or loved with you. You may need them to help bail you out of jail or to find a lawyer to represent you.
  • As soon as you can, and while it’s still fresh in your head, write down everything you remember about the incident and your arrest. Including whether law enforcement read you your Miranda Rights.

What you should NOT do

  • Do not be disrespectful to law enforcement.
  • Do not offer any information to law enforcement, even if that information seems harmless.
  • Do not argue with law enforcement, even if they try to provoke you into getting angry.
  • Do not sign anything unless your attorney is present.
  • Do not run away from law enforcement. Obviously, doing so makes the police think that you’ve done something wrong or have something to hide.
  • Do not allow the police to listen in on any telephone call that you make to your lawyer; conversations with your lawyer are protected by the attorney-client privilege.
    • Penal Code 636 prohibits law enforcement or the government listening in on a call between an attorney and a client. But note that all jail calls are automatically recorded by a private company. These calls can potentially be reviewed at a later time by police or prosecutors if they believe the calls may contain evidence of certain offenses, such as discussion about escaping from jail or intimidating a witness.  
  • Do not allow the police to listen in on any telephone call you make to anyone.
    • Note that a call from a jail telephone is not private or confidential. The police can legally overhear or record what you’re saying. That information can be used against the arrestee in court.  
  • Do not get into any physical contact with law enforcement.
  • Do not resist arrest. This one should be obvious.
  • Do not interfere with the police’s work. If you do, you can face additional criminal charges.
  • Do not volunteer to have your property searched. Under certain circumstances, police do not need your permission. But if they ask you for permission or suggest that they need permission, say “no.”
  • Do not discuss your citizenship or immigration status with any one other than your lawyer.
  • Do not agree to participate in a police line-up without your attorney present
    • Lineups are a critical part of the criminal investigative process. If an eyewitness claims that the suspect is the person seen committing or involved somehow with the crime, that can serve as powerful evidence for an arrest and later, a conviction in court.
    • There are several different types of line-ups
      • Photo lineup – the witness may only see pictures of several persons, including the alleged suspect.
      • Live lineup – the witness may view several persons, including the suspect, live and in person.
      • One person – the witness just views the suspect by photo or in person.
      • All lineups are done either simultaneously or sequentially – in a simultaneous lineup (which is the most common), the witness views all of the persons or their photos at the same time. In a sequential lineup, the potential in-person suspects or their photographs, are shown to the witness one at a time.
    • There are a lot of possible problems with lineups, including mistaken eyewitness identification. As such, the United Stated Supreme Court in its opinion, United States v. Wade, ruled that a suspect has a right to an attorney during a police lineup.
    • Having your lawyer present may ensure that the police undertake the lineup legally and fairly and do not abuse the process.

If you or a family member is arrested, you are probably scared and unsure of how to move forward. Do not let this hardship ruin your life—talk to an experienced California criminal defense attorney at the Tabibnia Law Firm. Call 866-713-2159 or fill out the form to your right, to speak to someone as soon as possible.

Cyrus Tabibnia

Cyrus Tabibnia

The Tabibnia Law Firm retains years of experience successfully representing individuals charged with misdemeanor and felony crimes,Theft Crimes, Crime Against Children, Driving Crimes, Rape Crimes, driving under the influence (DUIs), domestic violence cases, drug possession cases, state and federal crimes, white color crimes, driving on a suspended license offenses, violent crimes, sex crimes, Forgery and all other criminal defense cases throughout Los Angeles, Orange County, San Fernando Valley, Ventura County, Riverside County, Van Nuys, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills. Call for a consultation today: 866-713-2159

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