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 your Miranda Rights.
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