I’ve Been Arrested. What Are My Rights?
Getting arrested is more often than not a highly stressful situation. As your adrenaline is pumping, it can be even more difficult to remain calm, making it all the more challenging to recall all of your rights.
Here is an outline of the rights of any private citizen who has been arrested, as well as information on how to proceed if those rights are violated.
Before the Arrest
If you are aware of a situation in which you may soon be arrested, prepare yourself and your loved ones. This may look like making plans for any children you may have, as well as memorizing important phone numbers, like your lawyer’s, for example. It is recommended that you bring two forms of identification with you while leaving all other personal property at home. Quarters may also come in handy for phone calls later on.
During the Arrest
While you are being arrested, it is important to remember that you have the right to remain silent, as per the Miranda Rule. You are not required to attempt to provide explanations or answer any questions. It is often in your best interest to ask for a lawyer as soon as possible. If you do not have the financial means to hire your own, you have the right to free representation.
An additional right that you obtain is the ability to make a phone call. If this call is to a lawyer, police cannot listen in, but they will most likely be present if it is to a friend or loved one.
My Rights Were Violated
If any of your rights mentioned above were violated, you have the right to act. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, it is crucial to write down any details you remember from the arrest. This includes, but is not limited to, badge numbers and patrol car numbers belonging to the officers at the scene, as well as the exact agency from which the officers are from. It is also in your best interest to get witnesses’ contact information who can help back up your case.
The next step would be to formally file a written complaint with the civilian complaint board or the agency’s internal affairs division. This can often be done anonymously if you feel most comfortable leaving your name off the report.
If you find yourself in a position where your rights were violated during an arrest and you want to take legal action, contact a criminal defense lawyer today from a firm like May Law, LLP who can walk you through this process.