It’s something most people don’t expect—being arrested and charged with a crime.
Whether you’ve been arrested, have been told that you’ll be arrested, or the subject of a police investigation, it’s important to consult an attorney quickly to protect yourself and your rights. Ask to speak to a criminal defense attorney before answering any questions.
Your Rights In An Arrest Situation
You have two rights while being detained:
- You have the right to remain silent
- You have the right to an consult an attorney
The most important thing to do is use both of these rights wisely and liberally. In other words:
- Don’t speak to any law enforcement agency—from a municipal police officer to a federal investigator—until you have spoken to a criminal defense attorney
- Decline to discuss your case with anyone you come in contact with; they may be called to testify against you later, and no matter how benign, any statement can be used in court against you
- Never discuss your arrest and case with relatives, friends, or on social media; anything you’ve said to them or on social media can also be used in the case against you, no matter how benign
Many people who claim their rights go on continuing speaking to police. Literally, anything you say aside from your name, address, and DOB can be used against you. Therefore, you should immediately state to the police, “I wish to remain silent,” “I refuse to answer any questions,” and “I wish to speak to a lawyer.”
Also remember that any communications you have while in jail—to family, friends, fellow inmates, or anyone else—is recorded, whether in person or by phone. The exception to this rule is the conversations you have with your defense attorney. These discussions are confidential, and your attorney will help you decide what to say to the police.
Until you inform the police that you want to speak to an attorney before discussing anything with them, the questioning will continue. Inform the police immediately that you are invoking your right to remain silent and will only speak with an attorney. Then don’t say anything else to anyone until your attorney arrives, and you can discuss the case with him/her.
Do Not Resist Arrest
Even if you’re being wrongfully arrested, resisting arrest is a separate charge. Even if the primary charges you’re facing are dropped, you may still be required to go to court and defend yourself (with your attorney) for resisting arrest.
As we’ve seen, it doesn’t take much to be charged with “resisting arrest,” even if someone isn’t. That’s why it’s important to cooperate with the police and consult an attorney if you are arrested.
The Police Investigation Interview
Maybe you’ve been asked to “stop by” and speak with the police “in connection with” an investigation. You’ve done nothing wrong, and believe you have nothing to hide, so why not just go talk to them?
It’s not that simple.
Chances are it’s not “just a chat,” it’s an investigation, and you’re a part of it. If you wouldn’t speak with them after you’ve been arrested, why speak to them at all when you’re not sure of what they’re looking for?
If you’ve been called in for questioning, even if you’ve been told you’re not a “person of interest,” you may not realize that you’re part of an investigation. The police aren’t required to tell you that you’re being investigated, or that anything you tell them can also be used against you.
Don’t make the mistake of giving the police something to use to implicate you, especially if you’re innocent. Even if you’re just being questioned, having a criminal defense attorney before you’re charged or before a case gets underway gives your attorney more time to investigate and build a strong case.
The sooner you and your lawyer begin discussing your case, the better your chances.
Your attorney will also be doing a separate investigation. Additional evidence can become available that the prosecutor may not have. Your criminal defense attorney’s investigation and discussions with the prosecutor may be what sees your charges reduced or dismissed.
Call Defense Lawyer Peter W. Evans In Cape Elizabeth
If you or a loved one have been arrested in Maine, have been told you’ll be arrested, or just questioned, get legal counsel immediately. Every case is different, and finding someone who has the skills and experience to handle your Maine criminal case is of utmost importance for a successful outcome.
Call Peter W. Evans today (207) 747-5114 today, or contact us online to schedule an appointment for your consultation.