July 2019 - You’re Under Arrest – What Now?
For most people, just the thought of being arrested is frightening. Not knowing what to expect makes the situation even more stressful. The important thing to remember if police pull you over or arrest you is to not panic. That could only make a difficult situation worse. Remember:
- Stay calm
- Don’t make any sudden moves
- Keep your hands in sight
- Comply with all reasonable requests (i.e., providing identification when asked)
Before police in New Jersey can make an arrest, they must have sufficient proof that a crime has been committed and that the person being arrested is the one who committed it. That’s known as probable cause. At that point, police are permitted to conduct a search at the scene. Assuming the arrest is legal, the search is also legal; anything found in this search could lead to additional charges.
We’ve all seen police shows on TV where suspects are read their Miranda Rights as they’re being cuffed and walked off to a waiting patrol car. But that’s TV; in reality, once arrested you’ll be taken to the police station or jail and processed, meaning police will record your identifying information and details of your arrest and you’ll be photographed and fingerprinted. At this point, you’re in custody and subject to custodial interrogation. That’s when the police must read your Miranda Rights.
Miranda Rights are based on protections granted under the 5th, 6th and 14th Amendments: protection against self-incrimination, the right to counsel, and the right to due process. It’s in your best interest to exercise your rights to remain silent and to counsel. By continuing to talk to police without a lawyer, you risk saying something incriminating that can be used later as evidence. A criminal attorney is best suited to defend you against interrogation and any case being built against you.
Few people set out to get arrested, but everyone is capable of making mistakes. If you find yourself or a loved one in this situation, your first step should be to consult an experienced criminal attorney.