After you are arrested, you have certain rights that the police cannot take away from you. You should know these rights so you can protect yourself in case of arrest for any type of crime.
The Right to Remain Silent
First, the right to remain silent is very important. The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution states that no person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself or herself. In the United States, if police detain (or arrest) someone, they must advise the individual that he/she has the right to remain silent, among other rights. This notification is part of the Miranda Warning. If you are arrested by the police, you do not have to talk to them – and in fact, you often should not say much at all. Remember anything you say can be used in court as evidence.
You can tell the arresting officer that you would like to remain silent. After you say that you want to remain silent, the police may continue to ask you questions. However, you can continue to remain silent as long as you choose – such as until your lawyer arrives.
The Right to a Phone Call
You also have the right to make a local phone call to any person you choose after your arrest. You may want to call a family member, friend, or lawyer. You may need to go through the police processing or booking first so it may take a while for you to have access to a phone after the arrest. Also, the police station may not have a phone book available to look up phone numbers, so have them memorized.
Keep in mind that jails and prisons monitor communications. Even if your phone call is to a lawyer, that call might be recorded. However, communications with your lawyer are not supposed to be monitored and should not be used against in a court of law due to attorney-client privilege.
The Right to an Attorney
You have the right to talk to a lawyer for advice before the police ask you any questions. If you request a lawyer, he or she should be present every time the police question you. If there is no lawyer in the room, you can continue to remain silent until your lawyer arrives. If you can’t afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you. However, even though the State of Arkansas may provide you a lawyer, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hire your own. A public defender often times cannot give your case the same amount of time and attention that a private criminal defense lawyer can. This is due to the high volume of cases that public defenders tend to have at any given time. In addition, a public defender may not be appointed to represent you until you have already spent a significant amount of time incarcerated.
If you believe your rights were violated after you were arrested, seek out the local Northwest Arkansas attorney—Matt Dearmore—who cares about seeking the best outcomes for his clients.
Please call our Fayetteville office to discuss your case, at 479-225-2567. Your initial consultation will be free.