Maybe you hear the cop knock on your front door the day after a physical altercation with your neighbor. You know that they called the police to try to get you in trouble, even though they started the fight. Perhaps the traffic stop has gone south; it looks like the officer plans to charge you with reckless driving and arrest you instead of just giving you a ticket for speeding.
Many people panic when they realize that arrest is imminent. If police officers have reason to suspect a crime, you may not be able to avoid arrest. What should you do in this difficult situation?
You can’t talk your way out of an arrest, but you can talk your way into trouble
Some people think that if they open up to the police or maybe tell them a sob story that they can escape with a warning. The truth is that anything you say during an arrest can come back to haunt you in court.
Misrepresenting the situation to minimize it might seem like a good idea, but it could also constitute lying to a police officer. Instead of trying to explain things away, try to secure your immediate situation.
Your best option is to follow police commands while also invoking your right to stay silent. Even if the officers have not yet read you the Miranda Warning, you can still decline to speak with them during your arrest. By being compliant, you avoid both the risk of violence and allegations of resisting arrest.
Commit the details of your arrest to writing if there are issues
If you believe the police arrested you wrongfully or treated you inappropriately, getting memes, badge numbers and other details during your arrest can help. As soon as you are in a space to do so, write those details down. The more information you have, the easier it will be to substantiate your side of the story later.
Invoking your right to an attorney early in the process can protect you
When you ask for a lawyer, police have to allow you to reach out and seek legal advice. They should not continue to pressure you to speak with them. The sooner in your interaction that you ask for legal representation, the less likely you are to make mistakes under the pressure applied by police officers.
You will likely have better protection in your interactions with police and later in court if you speak with a lawyer as soon as possible after an arrest.