Most people do not leave home in the morning and think they will get arrested later that day. In fact, many people who end up getting arrested are caught completely off-guard, particularly when they haven’t done anything wrong or don’t believe they have done anything wrong. It is this element of surprise that makes being arrested so upsetting and unsettling, which often leads to the person being arrested making some serious mistakes during the arrest and afterwards.
If you are ever in a situation where you are going to be arrested in Washington, avoid doing the following five things that could make the situation and its eventual outcome even worse for you.
Do Not Resist the Arrest
When a police officer has decided to arrest you, let him or her do it. Don’t try to fight the police off, run, yell or scream at the officers. You may know for certain that the arrest is wrongful or that you are completely innocent, but any type of resistance can be seen as a crime in itself, and it can also lead to violence. When you make slow, deliberate movements, the police are less likely to mistake an innocent action on your part for a threat.
Do Not Say Too Much
As any defense attorney will tell you, saying anything to a police officer when you are under arrest is the wrong move. Of course, you can and should give them your basic identification information, such as who you are and where you live, but anything else is not necessary nor in your best interest. In general, police officers are suspicious of people who talk too much, as it’s a behavior associated with guilt, so only say what you absolutely have to say. In addition, it’s true that anything you say to an officer now could be used against you in your case later. Even statements you said in jest could be taken seriously, so keep quiet until you talk to your attorney.
Do Not Agree to Cooperate
Keep in mind that even though you can’t lie to the police, they can say just about whatever they want to you. Sometimes a police officer will offer some sort of leniency if you cooperate. Do not fall for that! The police officer you are talking to is not in control of charges, prosecution or sentencing; they are just trying whatever tactic they can to get you to admit to wrongdoing, and they will say things that are not true to get the results they are after. You have the right to remain silent under the Fifth Amendment, so keep that firmly in mind. Do not speak to the police until you have talked to your attorney, and he or she should be present any time you talk to any sort of officer.
Do Not Implicate Someone Else
In addition to not cooperating, you should not list off other people who the police could be looking for instead of you in connection with the crime you were arrested for. While you may have solid information about a genuine criminal the police could use, saying this upfront validates your arrest even more because it comes across as if you knew at least something about the crime you were arrested for. Do not offer any names as potential crime suspects because that indicates that you are aware of the crime on some level.
Be Sure to Get a Lawyer
The law enforcement department and police arresting you have far more resources than you do on your own, but this does not mean that you are powerless. When you can, ask for a defense attorney to represent you in your case. When you ask for an attorney, the police have to let you contact one, as you have the right to an attorney. An experienced criminal attorney can help you with the entire process and safeguard your rights. Criminal charges often have financial penalties and carry potential jail time sentences, so it is in your best interests to have legal help at your side when your money and your freedom are on the line.