- posted: Feb. 08, 2019
Yeah, I know. An arrest in the field is not a situation where the arrestee is exactly "Driving the Bus."
Still, there are some things that arrestee can do or avoid that will make his defense better and eliminate the chance of any new charges.
As a backdrop, remember that getting arrested is PERFECTLY LAWFUL ACTIVITY.
The rules of engagement for getting arrested:
1. Stand or sit still. Do not make any sudden movements. If your hands are already in your pockets, ask the officer if he minds that you remove them slowly;
2. Identify yourself by Name, Address, and DOB, if asked. Say nothing more;
3. SHUT UP! Do not discuss the subject of your arrest or any defense or alibi you might have. If the officer asks for your "side of the story," do not think your statement will change anything. Save your story for court.
4. LAWYER UP! Tell everybody who will listen and anybody who won't listen that you want a lawyer right now. That's the answer to every question except the one in paragraph 5, below;
5. Here's the exception: If asked, once the arrest is declared, whether you have a weapon on your person, legal or illegal, and you DO, tell them you do and tell them where it is. Once you have been arrested, they have the right to search you anyhow so do not risk officer panic upon finding a weapon by surprise. This is for your safety. (NOTE: Good Lawyers can disagree on this one. This instruction only applies to weapons on YOUR PERSON.)
6. They are going to cuff you for transport. It is a policy for most departments. Turn, put your arms behind you and try to relax your shoulders as much as possible. Police do not want the cuffs to be painful or to leave marks. By presenting relaxed arms, you minimize the likelihood that the cuffs will be tightened in response to a tension that can be read as resistance. Nearly 100% of Peace Officers don't want to hurt you with the cuffs. They simply ensure you are safe for transport.
7. At every stage and to every new officer involved in your processing, repeat your request for a lawyer. If you don't ask for a specific lawyer, ask that one be appointed for you immediately (when they read you your rights they tell you that one will be provided to be present during questioning. Actually doing that is a near impossibility. Public Defenders are not assigned until your first court appearance. But ask, Often.)
8. I saved the most difficult for last. Do not use profanity or angry words. Don't be loud or mention the name of anyone you think may be the complaining witness. Many favorable dispositions in close cases come down to whether the Defendant "cooperated" during his arrest. "Cooperating" is being peaceful and polite, not discussing your case or your defense with police. Moreover, as I noted above, getting arrested is perfectly lawful activity. Don't lose your dignity. You will accomplish nothing and make your lawyer's job more difficult..
Once you get to the Jail, there's another set of "How to's" We will get to that soon.