An arrest can be one of the most traumatic and stressful experiences of your life. Understandably, most people are not sure what to do in such a situation, and they assume the steps they take only matter once the case goes to court.
No matter the reason for your arrest, there are certain ways you can protect your rights and potentially strengthen your defense. If you are facing criminal charges and would like to speak with a Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney, contact Leader & Leader P.A. today at 954-523-2020.
Even if your charges do not seem serious, you should not take them lightly. The justice system can be unpredictable. Read on to learn two ways to protect your rights if police arrest you:
- Ask to speak to an attorney.
Anything you say or do while undergoing an arrest can weigh heavily on the outcome of your case. This is why it is so critical to inform law enforcement personnel that you are not comfortable making any statements unless there is an attorney present.
As a general rule, we believe it is best to politely inform the police that you will not say anything in regard to the situation until you have spoken with an attorney. You have the legal right to remain silent. Keep in mind that police can record and even misconstrue anything you say and may use it against you later in the legal process. There are some situations where cooperating at the inception can be helpful but we have had clients that had done nothing wrong, believed they had nothing to hide and agreed to speak; the fact that they were no guilty of any offense did not prevent their arrest which is why they became our client. The key is to be police and respectful but do not do or say anything because you were promised something, threatened or because you think you do not have a choice. You can always advise that you are happy to cooperate in any manner but you are not going to do anything without first speaking with your attorney. The mere reading you your rights does not protect you; you must affirmatively express your desire to remain silent and/or to have an attorney present for any questioning.
Defending your rights is a battle that begins the moment police arrest you. Having advice from a qualified lawyer early on can help you avoid mistakes that could compromise your interests.
- Do not attempt to explain your actions to officers.
This is often an instinctual reaction: When dealing with people in positions of authority, you want them to hear your side of the story in the hopes that they will understand. Though explaining your actions may be an innocent attempt to make the situation better, it can get you in even more trouble.
Your statements and actions during and after an arrest can affect the outcome of your case. According to Florida Law, you should expect the arresting officers to document every word you say in the police report.
This report will go on record, and what you said will likely be used against you. Although sometimes an explanation at the time is more powerful to your defense than giving an explanation later, you may inadvertently admit to an element of the charged offense law enforcement could not prove without your admission. In the end, a single misguided statement can render certain defenses invalid and put you in a more difficult position to fight the charges.
Explaining yourself in the moment often will not convince the police to let you go. The situation may not be pleasant, but it is better is many situations, it is better to wait for legal guidance from an attorney before making any statements to law enforcement.
To speak with criminal lawyer in Fort Lauderdale, contact Leader & Leader P.A. for a free consultation at 954-523-2020. With more than eight decades of combined experience, we can provide insightful legal advice, construct your defense and aggressively protect your rights.