After An Arrest, What Should I Do?
In the moments surrounding an arrest, there are many ways that the long-term outcome of your case can be affected by what you do and say. Remember these guidelines if you find yourself being put under arrest in Virginia.
You may not be certain whether or not you’ve been arrested, and it’s important to clarify. While an officer can ask you questions about your identity, address, and what you’re doing in a particular location if they have reason to suspect that you have or will commit a crime, you do not have to answer additional questions. It’s intimidating to speak with a police officer, and you might be inclined to make the officer happy by answering any questions in detail, or feel that angering the officer by refusing to answer will only result in arrest. However, it’s much better to be arrested without having offered up any incriminating information than to unwittingly hand over incriminating facts to police prior to arrest, only to be arrested later on. If you become concerned by the questions being asked by the officer, simply ask, “Am I free to leave?” or, “Am I being arrested?” This may compel the officer to admit that there is not a sufficient amount of evidence to arrest you for the suspected crime, and allow you a chance to consult with an attorney before an arrest eventually occurs.
Once you’re placed under arrest, keep calm. Whether or not you think the arrest is for legitimate reasons, you will never benefit from trying to escape the police, using force against them, or even using abusive language. While the underlying reason for the arrest might not result in a conviction, you’ll almost certainly be found guilty of assaulting an officer or resisting your arrest, should you let your temper get the best of you. Instead, comply with all instructions and remain quiet. If officers nevertheless use excessive force when taking you into custody, take note of their names and what happens, so that you can explore possibly filing a claim against the abusive officers in the future.
Take your Miranda warning to heart. You’ve heard it countless times on TV: “You have 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 have an attorney present. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided to you.” If you are not read this warning, or something substantially similar, after your arrest, then anything you tell the police from the point of your arrest on cannot be used in court. Regardless, there is little to be gained from answering the police’s questions after you’re in jail. The officers will use whatever tricks they can to elicit a confession—lying about a co-conspirator’s confession, lying about the existence of photographs of you at the scene of the crime, trying to convince you that they’re on your side and this will all blow over if you just confess. Instead, a great answer to any question you’re asked is the following: “I want my lawyer.” Providing any additional information will often make matters worse.
If you’ve been arrested for a crime in the Bedford or Lynchburg region of Virginia, contact the compassionate and experienced criminal defense attorneys at the Pack Law Group for a consultation, at 540-586-7225.