Getting arrested can be frightening and intimidating. Also, it initiates a legal process that can change your life instantly. Following an arrest, you have a lot of rights you must be aware of. And you need to know how you can exercise such rights. Also, you should be aware of things you should not do. By equipping yourself with this knowledge, you can lay the groundwork for an effective defense with the assistance of an experienced lawyer. Keep reading to learn more about what to do after an arrest:
After you get arrested, you should stay calm and don’t argue with the police. In fact, you should not try to explain your side of the story. Also, do not resist the arrest, even if you are innocent of the charge. Keep in mind that it is a criminal offense to resist arrest.
If it turns out your arrest was not lawful, or that you are innocent of the charges, the criminal process will prove this later. Resisting arrest will only add another criminal charge to your list, which you will deal with separately later.
Determine If it is Truly an Arrest
You know you have been arrested if you have been handcuffed, read your legal rights, and led by police officers to their car. But some people believe they have been arrested when they truly haven’t. For instance, being asked to go to the police station for questioning is not an arrest. Also, you have been arrested if a police officer detained you but has not read your rights.
An official arrest is when you get booked, which means your fingerprints and mug shots are taken and your belongings inventoried. Otherwise, you can just ask the police if you can leave. And if you are asked to submit yourself to questioning at the police station, make sure you consult with an attorney first.
Exercise Your Rights
Whether or not you have been arrested, you must not talk to the police beyond giving your basic personal information. Police officers can draw incriminating details out of you by making you think they are kind and friendly. Also, do not talk to anybody else when officers could overhear you. Additionally, you should not sign anything. It is your right to refuse to sign any paperwork unless your attorney is present. Law enforcement officials will use tactics to have you comply. However, do not react aggressively and make a scene.
Get the Details on Your Case
Try to get as much information as possible about what’s happening. You may be unsure and frightened. The police may make your feelings worse to try to get you to confess, cooperate with them, or make a statement. Keep in mind that law enforcement is on the prosecutor’s side, not you. You must be respectful to avoid further problems but you must remember that the police will want to make their case.
If you were driving a vehicle when the incident took place, get information on where the vehicle has been towed and stored as well as how to get it. Sometimes, the state will seize the car indefinitely, when it is connected with criminal activity.
Prepare for the Initial Hearings
A detention hearing may be held within 48 hours of being booked in NJ, depending on the charges you are facing. In general, the hearing happens in cases that involve felony charges or disorderly persons charges. But not all arrested individuals are detained before a bail hearing. In fact, you could be released after processing.
You should know if and when you will be released or to appear at a hearing. If you are detained and have a detention hearing, you must know when this hearing will take place to ensure you can attend it a hire a lawyer. You need a defense attorney who can handle the proceeding’s complexities and argue for your release.
Work on Your Defense
The prosecutor that decides to file charges against you works against you from the time you get arrested. Whatever information the police will get from you will end up in the hands of the prosecutor. To this end, the opposition will collect evidence immediately. Thus, you should remember this and think similarly.
Consider making mental notes of what is going in and what is being said. If somebody made recordings, ensure to keep track of them. Later on, your attorney will know every potential avenue of evidence to utilize in your defense; however, you can make things a bit easier for them if you can tell them where to look.
Contact a Defense Attorney
It is your right to call an attorney after your arrest. A skilled attorney can advise you on time-sensitive questions such as whether you must refuse a blood test or a breath test following a DUI arrest. Also, they can take action to protect your constitutional rights.
For instance, in New Jersey, it’s your right to appear in court within 12 hours following your arrest. Your lawyer can make sure you appear before a judge on time, to avoid being stuck in jail for a longer time than necessary.
A criminal defense attorney can preserve evidence that can be used for building your defense strategy. Over time, you may forget significant details of your arrest that your attorney could use as major evidence in your case, so do not wait too long to hire a lawyer. Moreover, your lawyer can give you legal guidance.
They can explain if they should negotiate a plea deal with the prosecutor or take your case to trial. Also, they can guide you through each step of the legal process, ensuring you are aware of what to expect every time you appear before a judge.
Keep in mind that the justice system is complex and confusing and you may not be aware of your rights at some stages of criminal proceedings. With the assistance of an attorney, you will know how and when you can exercise these rights.