Many people don’t realize that an interaction with law enforcement has started to go wrong until an officer pulls out their handcuffs. At that point, it may be too late for someone to avoid some time in state custody. Those who are facing arrest frequently make mistakes while in state custody that end up harming their chances of a successful defense in criminal court.
How someone behaves when an officer announces the intention to arrest them will have an unquestionable impact on their future charges and defense options. What does someone need to do when facing imminent arrest?
Make use of their right to remain silent
All too often, people already in handcuffs or a police cruiser think that they can talk their way out of charges. They think if they can just give the right explanation or humanize themselves to the officer, they can avoid criminal penalties.
However, the more that someone talks after their arrest, the greater the chance that they will say something that implicates them or that contradicts a previous statement. Their right to remain silent will be one of their most valuable protections. Choosing not to answer questions while in police custody is often the best option for someone under arrest.
Assert the right to a defense attorney
Everyone arrested for a criminal offense theoretically has the right to the representation of a criminal defense attorney. They should be able to contact their attorney at the time of their arrest and defer speaking with law enforcement officials until their lawyer is present. An attorney can help someone avoid mistakes that could worsen their current legal predicament.
Be cautious about police searches
Often, officers will ask during an arrest if they can look through a vehicle or enter someone’s home. Those seemingly benign questions can lead to lengthy searches and major consequences for the person arrested. Individuals do not have to authorize any searches simply because they are under arrest. They can still deny access to their home or their vehicle in many cases.
Those who know their rights before experiencing an encounter with law enforcement agents will have an easier time asserting themselves and avoiding mistakes that could hurt their chances of a successful defense during a criminal trial. Taking the right steps when in state custody will give someone the best chance of mounting a successful criminal defense with the assistance of a legal professional.