Being arrested can be one of the scariest moments of your life. Knowing what to do next can help you navigate your way through a complicated and daunting situation. Here are some steps you can take:
- Stay calm, cool and collected. Be polite to the officers and try not to escalate the situation. Be aware that resisting arrest can mean additional charges.
- Keep quiet. The so-called Miranda warning, which informs detainees' of their "right to remain silent," was the result of a 1966 Supreme Court decision that established guidelines for the rights of anyone who is arrested. You are not required to talk to police officers about your case, no matter how persuasive they can be.
- Can you be searched? Before you're under arrest, you must give consent to police to search you or your property. After you're arrested, they no longer need your consent. One big exception: A 2014 Supreme Court ruling mandated that police need a warrant to search your cell phone even after you're under arrest.
- Ask for an attorney. The Miranda warning also mandates that you have the right to consult with an attorney -- even if you can't afford one -- and have them present for any interrogations or testing. The Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution also guarantees your right to seek legal counsel.
- See No. 2. Remember when we said to not talk to the police? This also applies to everyone else you come in contact with after your arrest. Don't get chatty with fellow arrestees while in jail. Don't broadcast details of your case and arrest on social media, no matter how tempting it might be to tell your side of the story. Only talk to your lawyer about anything pertaining to your arrest.