Being arrested is a frightening experience. In the moment, you might feel a strong desire to fight back against law enforcement officials and profess your innocence. Immediately after the arrest, you might feel uncertain of what to do or what comes next.
There are several important things you need to know to ensure your rights are protected. Here, we have put together some of the most common mistakes people make after being arrested so that you can avoid jeopardizing your freedom and your future.
Arrested in Arlington or the nearby areas? Contact Labovitz Law Firm now for a free, confidential consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Talking to Law Enforcement Without an Attorney
“You have the right to remain silent…” is one of the most commonly known phrases in criminal law. But countless people forget this right—or fail to realize its importance—during an arrest. Whether you have been pulled over on suspicion of DWI (driving while intoxicated) or have been arrested on drug charges, your best bet is staying silent.
You do not have to answer the arresting officer's questions, aside from providing them with your name and other basic information. This means you do not have to respond if a police officer asks whether you have been drinking or if a detective brings you in for questioning without a lawyer. Remember, your full Miranda rights are “the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.” Enact your rights and remain silent until your attorney is present.
Many people mistake the right to remain silent as a right to be uncooperative. In fact, you should never resist arrest or do anything that could be construed as resisting arrest, such as wandering off while detained or failing to pull over promptly during a traffic stop.
Often, police officers will use force to detain or arrest an individual. It can be extremely tempting—and even instinctual—to fight back. However, this is not only dangerous for your personal safety, but it can also lead to additional charges. If you feel that your rights were violated during any part of the arrest, make a mental note to inform your attorney.
Missing Your Court Date
If you are ordered to appear in court, it is critical that you do so. No matter how long the time between when you are let out on bond and your court date, make sure you do not forget to appear. If you fail to appear in court at the scheduled time, the court will likely issue an immediate order for your re-arrest. This can make it extremely difficult to fight your charges at future proceedings.
You should also always be prepared when you appear in court. Be on time and dress appropriately. This shows the judge that you care and sends a message that you are taking this situation seriously. Your attorney will also be able to help you prepare for court, including what you can expect from the proceedings.
Talking About the Case with Others
Whether it's the person who pressed charges against you, your family members or friends, or even your social media followers, you should not talk about the case with anyone other than your attorney. This includes asking for/taking advice from loved ones over the advice of your attorney, as well as violating protective orders by talking to the other party involved.
At best, talking to others about the charges will likely hurt your case; at worst, it can get you re-arrested. The best decision you can make is to simply not talk about any aspect of your case with your family or friends and never post about it on social media.
Failing to Hire a Lawyer
Even if you think your charges are not that serious, it is incredibly important that you enact your right to an attorney. Remember, if you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.
Many people believe that a criminal defense attorney is not necessary or that they can effectively represent themselves in court. But criminal law is extremely complex. Only an experienced, professional attorney will be able to help you navigate the many nuances of your case and fight to ensure your rights are protected.
It is strongly recommended that you contact a lawyer right away if you or someone you love has been arrested. At Labovitz Law Firm, we provide free initial consultations for all potential clients. Our Arlington criminal defense attorneys can meet with you to discuss the specifics of your situation and help you determine the best course of action.
The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can begin building your defense. Call (817) 374-4056 or submit an online case evaluation form now.