Nobody wants to be accused of doing something they didn’t do. Sadly, it happens on a regular basis. But one of the worst situations you can find yourself in is a wrongful arrest. It’s not only embarrassing, humiliating, and mentally distressing, but it can also irreversibly ruin your life and reputation – innocent people have spent years in jail awaiting trial after a wrongful arrest.
You may be a hardworking and honest citizen, but then one day, your employer accuses you of theft and calls the police. It can also happen if you are near a crime scene or match a suspected criminal’s description. And sometimes, a law enforcement officer may arrest you on the street without any reasonable suspicion. So, how do you respond to these types of situations?
Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind if you are ever wrongfully arrested.
Ask the Right Questions
Whether you are pulled over by the police when driving or the police knock on your door, you need to know what to say and what not to say. It’s natural to defend yourself when you are being falsely accused, but getting into an argument won’t solve anything.
Keeping quiet is a good option, but if you manage to maintain a cool head you can always ask some questions. It is important, however, to know which questions you should ask to the police. Ask why you are being arrested or detained, whether you can have a lawyer, and whether they can let you go if they aren’t placing you in custody. These questions will help you determine your next move.
Remain Silent When You Are Being Questioned
When facing arrest, you have the right to remain silent. So, you don’t have to answer any questions until your attorney arrives. Even when you are innocent, don’t think you are doing yourself any favors by answering every question.
Anything you say can be used against you in court. The only time you may respond to an officer’s questions is when you aren’t in danger of being arrested. For instance, if you are found loitering and the police ask for identification.
Ask for a Search Warrant
If the police officer wants to search your vehicle or home to look for evidence, ask for a search warrant. The truth is law enforcement officers aren’t allowed to conduct a search without the right document. This means they need a search warrant obtained from a judge.
If they have it, check whether it has errors. It should indicate the correct address of your home, the date and time they are allowed to search, the items they are looking for, and the officer’s name authorized to use it.
Don’t Resist Arrest
It’s true, most arrests are highly charged and emotional, especially when you know you haven’t done anything wrong. But if you attempt to flee or fight the police, you may end up being charged with resisting arrest. Even swatting their hand away may fall under assault, and you could end up facing some unpleasant legal consequences.
To avoid any implications, be cooperative and maintain a cool head. Remember, you have the right to make a call and seek legal advice from a lawyer.
Know Your Rights
It’s emotionally and mentally stressful to get arrested without probable cause. Sadly, the justice system isn’t always perfect and mistakes do happen. Learning how to respond to these scenarios will not only help the situation get resolved more quickly but will also stop you from making mistakes that could put you in real trouble.
Don’t resist arrest, always ask for a search warrant and call a lawyer before making a statement. If you feel any of your rights have been violated, you always have the option to sue the individuals involved.