What Rights Do I Have After an Arrest?

When you are arrested for any type of crime, you still have rights. Many people facing criminal charges often don’t realize that they have them. As such, they aren’t equipped to protect themselves or ensure fair treatment during an arrest or interrogation.

Sometimes, mistakes are made where law-abiding citizens find themselves placed under arrest. According to a Manassas criminal defense law firm, what surprises these people the most is that they haven’t been read their Miranda rights at the point of arrest. However, officers are not required to read them to you immediately. They will usually make you aware of them when they take you into custody for interrogations.

For those not in the know, Miranda rights are there to protect your Fifth Amendment which permit you the right to remain silent as you are questioned while in police custody. There are other rights that you have under the Constitution, and knowing more about them will help you through the process.

Your Right to Remain Silent

One of the rights that you have that you likely know best from TV shows and movies is having the right to remain silent. During a police interrogation, you do not have to say anything. They can’t use this silence against you in court either.

There’s a fine line though as not speaking before those rights are read to you may raise further suspicions. However, making small talk is not advised either. The best thing you can do is politely let the police know that your attorney has always instructed you to never make any statement without having him present.

As the police read you your rights, they will let you know that anything you say can be used against you. When you state that you want to remain silent and want to speak with your attorney, it is not anything that they can use negatively against you. 

Your Right to an Attorney

Once you are taken into custody and read your rights, you will be advised that you are permitted to have an attorney if you wish to have one. Please keep in mind that requesting to speak to your attorney does not make you seem guilty. Right now, you are merely a suspect in this crime, and whether you did anything or not, you have a right to legal counsel.

Defense attorneys do not work on a contingency basis which means you would have to pay them out of pocket for their services. Regardless of your financial standing, you are still granted this right to an attorney. The Constitution allows one to be appointed for you, free of charge.

However, it may be best to choose and hire your own criminal defense attorney. Public defenders are bogged down with cases, making it impossible for them to provide personal attention to everyone they represent. It’s far better to retain an experienced attorney that can give your case the attention required to help you fight these charges. 

Your Rights Once You’re in Police Custody

To recap, when the police take you into custody, they must inform you of your Constitutional rights. This will include the right to remain silent along with the warning that anything you say beyond this point can be used against you. You will be told of your right to have an attorney as well as having one appointed for you by the court.

What’s next? As soon as you are read these rights, you should tell the officer about your wishes to remain silent and that you want to speak with your lawyer. You should not say anything else after you inform them of this decision.

Due to the protections of the law, the authorities must be respectful of your rights. They can’t force you to speak or demand that you answer any questions. They can’t force you to sign anything either. If you are asked to ink your name on any document, do not do so without having an attorney review it first.

Some people facing criminal charges are coerced into answering questions or signing documents after choosing to exercise their Constitutional rights. If this happens to you, an experienced defense attorney can have it blocked from being used during your trial.

Another thing few people realize after they are taken into custody is that they have additional rights. One of them is that you are permitted to make local phone calls. This is the perfect opportunity to call your attorney or a member of your family to let them know what has occurred.

However, be careful with what you say on the phone. If you are on the phone with your lawyer, the police are not permitted to listen. You will be granted complete confidentiality with your attorney. Phone calls to anyone else are fair game and they can listen to anything you say while you’re on the line.

Don’t Wait to Contact an Attorney After Your Arrest

Once you have been placed under arrest and are brought into custody, don’t waste time. Hire a criminal defence attorney as soon as possible to get them started on preparing your defence. Time is of the essence, and your freedom is completely at stake. Whether you made a poor choice or you are being falsely accused of a crime you did not commit, exercise your legal rights and seek legal representation at once.

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