What Are My Rights If I Am Arrested And Accused Of A Crime?

First, it is in your best interest to be cooperative with the arresting officer.  You should answer all questions put to you except those questions relating to the matters of which you are accused.  If you are arrested and accused of a crime, you must understand that you have certain Constitutional rights.

1.  The first such right, and perhaps the most important, is the right to remain silent.   Neither you nor your lawyer can unring a bell once it is rung.  Also, if you give a statement, you run the risk that you may be misunderstood or that what you say might be misrepresented in a police report.  If you refuse to give a statement, you can be assured that no statements can be attributed to you.  It has been my experience that declining to discuss the facts of your case is usually in your best interest regardless of what the police tell you.  Police officers are trained to use psychology to get you to talk.  Be wise and exercise your right to remain silent.

2.  You have a right to an attorney and to have your attorney present prior to any questioning.  If you cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint an attorney to represent you.

3.  You have the right to be informed of the charges against you.

4.  You have the right to reasonable bail in most instances.

5. You have the right to make one telephone call.  This call should be made to an attorney, a bail bondsmen, or a trusted member of your family.  Since you only get one telephone call, you must be careful to use the call wisely.

6. Last but not least, you have a right not to be subject to unreasonable searches and seizures.  The 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides: "The right of the people to be secure in their houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

This prohibition should be considered by your lawyer in every case.  Many times, this is your only defense to the crime!

(c) Copyright 2003-2015  by Harry M. Reynolds, Attorney

We the People ....