Did you know over 10 million people are arrested every year in the U.S? Getting arrested doesn’t mean you will end up in jail. However, if you don’t play your cards right, you might spend a few days, months, or years behind bars.
Whether you have committed a crime or are innocent, you have the right to plead your innocence case and hopefully attain freedom. However, your reaction during and after the arrest will affect the proceedings of the case.
The last thing you need is to do anything that may implicate you in court. Therefore, to safeguard your freedom, here are eight steps you should take after being arrested.
1. Don’t Resist When Being Arrested
Don’t attempt to flee or resist arrest when the police approach you. Resisting arrest can earn you a fine or up to one year in prison. The defense can also use this action to solidify their case against you.
Law enforcers are allowed to use reasonable force when a suspect attempts to resist an arrest. You may end up getting hurt in the process, especially if the police officer has a cause to believe that you pose a threat to him or the public. Cooperate with the police to avoid extra charges and bodily injury.
However, if the police ask to search your property without a court order or warrant, you can resist the search. Ask them to acquire proper legal permits before going through your property.
2. Invoke Your Rights
In most arrests, the police officer will spell out the Miranda warning if they want to question you. You have a right to remain silent and not answer any questions related to the purported crime. However, you are required to give your name, address, and age.
Any information you provide after receiving the Miranda warning can be used against you in court. If the officer doesn’t spell out your rights, the information you give can be invalidated in court.
It is best to invoke your rights and decline to talk without legal representation. This way, you’ll avoid incriminating yourself.
However, if you decide to provide answers, you can still change your mind at any time by pleading the fifth. This means you no longer wish to answer questions in the absence of a lawyer.
3. Ask for Details of the Charges
Knowing why you’ve been arrested is essential in building a solid case. It can also help you determine how to approach the police, especially if you are guilty of the crime. If you don’t have an attorney, knowing the nature of the crime will help you to find the best legal representation.
Politely ask the details of the crime. Keep these details in mind so you can provide them to your lawyer later.
Exercise calmness whether you’re guilty or innocent of the charges. Remember, denying the crime before the police will not impact the case or prove your innocence.
4. Get a Bail Bond Agent
After the arrest, you’ll be put in temporary police custody. At this point, you need to get a bail bond agent and post bail.
This step is particularly essential if you don’t already have a lawyer at hand. Talk to a family member so they can find a bail bond agent to process your release.
The court looks into various factors to determine bail. These include the following:
- Risk of flight
- The possibility of obstructing justice
- Nature of the felony and the possible punishment
Find an experienced bail agent who will argue your case and secure bail for you. You can read more here about the bail process and how an expert can help you get released on bail.
5. Secure the Right Attorney
If you don’t already have an attorney at hand, it’s time to find one. Get the right lawyer depending on the charges brought against you. If you’re facing criminal charges, get a criminal defense lawyer.
Let your lawyer know any information you have about the case. Also, be as candid as possible regarding your innocence or guilt. Being honest gives the attorney the ability to build a solid case and poke holes into the prosecution’s case.
6. Follow Bail Conditions
After getting released on bail, you should follow the stipulated bail conditions. They include the following:
- Instructions not to leave town
- The requirement not to commit any offense after the release
- A warning not to undermine or threaten witnesses
If you violate any of these and other bail conditions, you may be arrested and charged for breach of bail conditions. The arrest can negatively impact your existing case and land you in prison.
Seek counsel from your lawyer if you intend to do something that may amount to a violation of bail conditions. Such actions include traveling out of town or leaving the country.
7. Maintain a Low Profile
Keep a low profile throughout the court proceedings. Do not break any law, no matter how negligible (e.g., getting a parking ticket). Don’t engage in activities that may jeopardize the outcome of your current case.
For example, limit social media engagement. Anything you post on social media about the case can be used against you by the prosecution.
If there’s any incriminating evidence on social media, don’t delete it. Talk to your lawyer, and they’ll figure out how to address it.
8. Be Open to Options
Court cases don’t always go how you wish them to. There may be inadequate evidence to prove your innocence. If you’re guilty, the prosecution may have gathered enough proof to win the case.
Your lawyer may request to cut you a deal, especially if they sense your freedom is not guaranteed. Listen to them and be open to discussing the available options.
As long as you have the best legal representation, their priority is to get you acquitted. Thus, listen to the attorney’s professional opinion as it may save you from losing money or serving a full-term sentence in prison.
Safeguard Your Freedom After an Arrest
Your freedom is the most important thing to focus on after being arrested. Anything you say or do after the arrest can take you a step closer to freedom or jail time. Follow our eight steps to safeguard your interests.
Before you go, check out our blog for more legal tips on how to maneuver arrests and court cases.