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What Should I Do if I’ve Been Arrested?

Caucasian male arrested and with handcuffs

Being arrested is frightening. It’s uncharted territory for most people, and there are numerous pitfalls that can make your case, and your life, much worse. Below, we’ve compiled a few tips on what to do and what not to do after an arrest. If you’ve been arrested for a crime in Los Angeles, call a zealous Monrovia and West Covina criminal defense lawyer for dedicated criminal defense counsel.

What Not to Do After an Arrest

The best advice for how to act after an arrest is to do as little as possible. There are a number of mistakes that people make when getting arrested that can either hurt their case or just make their lives more difficult overall.

  • Don’t talk to the police. As soon as you are being detained, you should stop talking. You have the right to remain silent and anything you say will absolutely be used against you. You can provide your name and basic identifying information, but you should stop there. The police can and will lie to you to get you to admit to things that hurt your defense, accidentally or on purpose. It’s best to say nothing at all until you speak with a lawyer.
  • Don’t fight the police. In the vast majority of encounters with the police, you do not have the right to resist arrest. If you use force, the police can use even more force. Then, you can be charged with additional crimes like resisting arrest or assaulting a police officer. If you have been arrested illegally and without proper cause, your lawyer will help you prove that in court.
  • Don’t run away. If you are under arrest, you might be tempted to try to get away. Resist this impulse. The police may use force to stop you, and you can be seriously hurt. Although California law says that police cannot use deadly force except “when necessary in defense of human life,” we’ve all seen enough news coverage of deadly police shootings to know that they do not always follow those rules. Moreover, if you are later caught, the fact that you ran can be used as additional evidence against you.

What to Do After an Arrest

  • Be cordial. Part of remaining silent when confronted by the police is that it helps you remain calm and polite. If you scream and swear at the police, the police can make your arrest much worse–they can delay taking you to the courthouse or fingerprinting you, they can delay processing your arrest, etc. They can find a way to leave you in jail longer than necessary. Remaining cordial might be easier said than done, depending upon the circumstances of your arrest, but do your best.
  • Invoke your rights. You have the right to remain silent and the right to a lawyer. Once you tell the police that you want to remain silent and you want to talk to a lawyer, the police should stop interrogating you. If they keep interrogating you, and you are forced to speak, there could be grounds to have your answers excluded from evidence in your case. If you volunteer information and start talking freely, however, then what you say can be used against you. It’s a thin line, and it’s better to say nothing beyond “I wish to remain silent and I want to talk to a lawyer.”
  • Answer basic processing questions. Although you should not volunteer any information about the incident or start defending yourself to the police, you can answer a few basic questions once you are booked. You can provide identifying information like your name, address, and social security number. Refusing to answer even these questions will likely cause you to be held in jail longer while they figure out who you are.
  • Call a lawyer as soon as you can. If you’ve been arrested for any crime at all, you need a competent criminal defense lawyer on your side. As soon as you are arrested, you should ask for a lawyer and refuse to answer questions (aside from the basic booking information mentioned above) until you get the chance to call an attorney. You can call a friend or family member to find you a lawyer, call a lawyer yourself, or request a public defender. Whichever way, do not start talking until you consult with a lawyer. Your criminal defense lawyer will review your case, give you advice, inform you about your options, and help you decide what to do next.

Call a Skilled Southern California Defense Lawyer After a Los Angeles Arrest

If you are facing criminal charges in Southern California, you need passionate, trial-ready legal counsel on your side. At the Law Firm of Oscar A. Ischiu, Esq., we provide individualized, dedicated criminal defense to Southern California defendants. We offer a free initial consultation. Call our criminal defense law firm with offices in West Covina, Ontario and Monrovia for stellar criminal defense across Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties.

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