The Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog

What to Do After You've Been Arrested

There is so much advice out there: Wear clean underwear; follow the golden rule; don't get arrested. But what about advice for after an arrest?

We'll skip the easy stuff like "don't yell at the officer" and "keep your hands to yourself." And you'll have to ask your attorney about how to get the jury on your side. We can't help with specifics like that.

What we can do is prepare you for some of the more common issues people run into when dealing with police after an arrest. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Were you actually arrested? It may sound like a silly question, but if no one said "you're under arrest" you should ask if you're free to leave. In some cases, police may ask you in for questioning without saying that you aren't a suspect. If you don't have to stay and answer questions, it's probably not a good idea to do it -- even if you just want to be helpful.

  • Tell them you're remaining silent. The right to remain silent requires you to speak up and tell police that's what you're doing. Yes, we see the irony too, but simply being silent without invoking your right to remain silent isn't enough if you live in California.

  • Ask for an attorney. When police read your Miranda rights they say you have the right to a lawyer. The catch is you have to act on it by telling police you want to speak to an attorney.

  • Make notes. Do you know all the things that can qualify as police misconduct? Well, your attorney probably does. Instead of trying to catch police in the act, remember what's happening and what was said to you so you can tell your attorney later. That's more likely to help you in court.

  • Police officers may lie during questioning. It's true that laws prevent police officers from coercing or forcing you to say anything during questioning, but they are allowed to lie or try to deceive you during the process. Don't be fooled if someone says they have you on tape committing a crime or your friend already admitted to what you did. Wait until you can talk to your attorney before worrying about your case.

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