STEP BY STEP GUIDE: How to Behave If You’re Being Arrested

December 3, 2015  |  Adriel B. Villarreal

If you’re under arrest, your first instinct may be to resist – especially if you’re innocent. But the way you behave and conduct yourself will have a major impact on the outcome of your case. Knowing how to behave will be the key to a favorable outcome.

1. Stay Calm

The first, and most important thing, is to stay calm. Stay in control of your emotions, words and body language. Yelling, using inappropriate language or resisting the officers will only make matters worse for you. Be polite and be respectful.

2. Do Not Try to Run

It should go without saying, but you should never try to run or even walk away. Always keep your hands where the officers can see them. Do not put your hands in your pockets or make any sudden movements. Do not touch a police officer either.

3. Don’t Give More Information Than You Have To

If necessary, give the police your name and address, but do not provide them with any other information. Always remember that anything you say can and will be used against you. Simply remain silent or ask to speak to your lawyer.

4. Do Not Give the Police Permission to Search Your Vehicle

To search a vehicle, the police must have probably cause, a warrant or they must have arrested you. If the police lack any of these things, they may ask for your permission to search your vehicle. If you permit the search, you cannot argue that the police performed an illegal search later in court.

5. Make Note of the Officer’s Physical Description

Pay attention to the officer’s physical description, and try to remember badge numbers and patrol car numbers.

6. Write Down Everything You Remember

As soon as you have a chance, write down everything you remember. This includes any information about the officer(s) and the situation that led to the arrest.

7. Get Witness Contact Information

If any witnesses were nearby, get their phone numbers and names. Witness testimony can have a major impact on the outcome of your case.

8. Ask to See Your Lawyer

Ask to see your lawyer immediately. If you can’t afford a criminal defense lawyer, the court will appoint you one when your case goes to court. Ask the police how to contact your lawyer. Remember – do not talk to the police without speaking to your lawyer first.

9. Remember that Your Calls Are Monitored and Recorded

Any outgoing phone calls that you make will be monitored by law enforcement. Your outgoing and incoming mail may also be read by officers. If you’re sending a letter to your attorney, be sure to write “Attorney Client Legal Mail” on the envelope. These letters cannot be opened and read.

10.   Take Photos

If you were injured, take photos of these injuries ASAP. It’s also important to ensure that you get medical attention and document your injuries. Ask the hospital or doctor for a copy of your treatment files.
While it may be difficult to do, it’s important to always remain courteous and respectful if you’re being arrested. Speak with a lawyer immediately and do not talk to the police without talking to your lawyer first. Call Barna, Guzy & Steffen with all of your legal questions at (763) 780-8500.