What Should I Do After I Have Been Arrested?
According to the FBI, there were 1,572,579 arrests for drug abuse violations in 2016. This means that someone was arrested for drugs once every 20 seconds. This number represents a 5.63% increase over the previous year.
At Sexner & Associates LLC, we know how hard being arrested can be. It may seem like your whole life has changed in less than a minute after the police handcuff you. There are certain actions you can take to make your situation better. But more importantly, there are a few things you should do to avoid making your problems far worse.
As experienced criminal defense attorneys, we want you to know what to do if you are arrested. Check out our guide below.
Do Not Resist
It can be incredibly frightening and frustrating to be arrested, especially if you did not commit any crimes. Some people lash out in anger, and physically resist police officers. This is unwise. Once it becomes clear that you will be arrested, you should carefully listen to your instructions and comply.
Resisting a police officer is a Class A misdemeanor in the state of Illinois. The definition of this crime may be somewhat vague, but the consequences for making such an error in judgment is not: harsher punishments may be added on to your sentence, and a judge will not look favorably upon this fact.
Assaulting a police officer is an even more grievous mistake. In some situations, it may be a felony. Beginning a fight with police officers may result in serious time in prison. In worst case scenarios, the office may fear for his or her life and use deadly force. Remember that you want to get home safely.
You have the right to remain silent. It may prove incredibly beneficial if you exercise that right. The police are almost certainly not going to be on your side. If you are talking to the authorities, it is helpful to have a lawyer sitting right next to you. Law enforcement officers are looking for any reason to bring the hammer down on you. Just to reiterate, keep quiet. Ask for a lawyer.
There is no law that says that the police always have to tell the truth. They can and will lie to you to try and get you to admit to a crime. A good lawyer will be able to see through these falsehoods.
When you are at a police station, there is no such thing as ‘water-cooler talk’. If they start talking about the Bulls, they may be subtly trying to steer the conversation towards what you were doing on Saturday night after the game, when the crime occurred. There is no need to fall into this trap. Even if it is not a direct line of questioning, it is a good idea to stay silent.
When you are on a phone call with a loved one, you will not want to elaborate too much on what you did or where you were. Someone in the office may be listening in. It is likely that if you speak a language other than English, someone at the Police Department also speaks that language. Statements made in Spanish, Polish or another language are just as valid as statements made in English.
Understand the Process and Know Your Rights
After an arrest, the police are allowed to:
- Take and secure your personal property or money
- Fingerprint you
- Photograph you
- Ask you to participate in a line-up
- Provide a writing sample
This is just a small list of actions the police may perform. At no time may the police use excessive force. If you believe that the police treated you in a violent manner, you should bring it up with your lawyer.
Before you get ‘booked’, law enforcement must decide if they are going to file any charges. This must typically be done with 72 hours. Once you have been charged with a crime, you will attend an arraignment. There, you can enter a plea.
You need to post bail before you can be released from police custody. This is property that you give to the authorities as a promise that you will show up for court. In Illinois, it is almost always cash. A judge sets this amount in the case of felonies. Sometimes, a bail will be zero dollars, also known as personal recognizance. You have a right to have an attorney present at this hearing to demonstrate why your bail should be lower than requested by the prosecutor.
You have the right to an attorney. Although every case is different, many who exercise that right receive lighter punishment, if they face consequences at all. We have the experienced team that you need. When you are facing legal trouble, you should not delay in reaching out to find experienced criminal defense attorneys.