When the police arrest you, it’s very stressful and frightening. It can be easy to panic and make a potentially costly mistake. If you can keep calm and remember what you should and should not do, you can maximize the odds that your attorney will be able to help you get a favorable outcome in your case.
What you should do
Do cooperate with the police. Follow their instructions, and avoid being antagonistic.
Do clarify that you are under arrest. If so, request the reason for your arrest, but say nothing more.
Do invoke your right to remain silent and your right to an attorney. Exercising these rights is not automatic – you must clearly invoke your rights in order for them to take effect.
Do write down any details you can about the circumstances of your arrest, including the names and badge numbers of the arresting officers and any officers who question you.
Do seek medical attention for any injuries you may have suffered during the arrest.
What you should not do
Do not resist arrest. If you think that you have been wrongfully arrested, you can sort it out later with your attorney.
Do not lose your temper with the police. Remain cooperative, even if they provoke you. However, remember that you do have the right to remain silent. Exercising your right to remain silent is not being uncooperative.
Do not give the police or anyone else any information until your attorney is present. This is the same as exercising your right to remain silent.
Do not sign any documents that the police or police station staff may give you until your attorney arrives and takes a look at it.
Do not participate in a line-up or a show-up without your attorney being present to supervise. Attorneys have training in identifying illegal or coercive tactics that police sometimes use during these situations.
Sometimes, the entire fate of a criminal case rests on what the defendant does or does not do in the first few hours of being in police custody. If you remember your rights and how to invoke them, you may improve your chances of a favorable outcome.