Today I’ll answer another query in my ‘Question of the day cause I ain’t got shit to write about’ series. Seems that people are curious as to what they should do if they or a member of their family is ever arrested. Let me start off by saying that I’m quite aware that individuals of questionable character may stumble across my blog and heed my advice. It’s not intended for them but for ‘decent folk’ who, for whatever reason, may be adding ‘bracelets’ (that’s handcuffs for those among us who are nerds) to their collection of fashion accessories. And by the way, the bad guys already learned this advice early on in ‘Mopery 101’. So here are three things you should know in the event you are ever arrested.
#1. Don’t resist the arrest, even if you believe it is unlawful
Rule number one is to never resist arrest. Besides the fact that you may get ‘tased’ or ‘maced’ or just have a ton of pain inflicted upon you, all not very pleasant experiences, it’s actually against the law in most states to resist even an unlawful arrest. So it’s better to go along quietly and peacefully and don’t do anything to add more stress to an already stressful situation. It will also work in your benefit not to have that arresting officer pissed off at you. Especially after several hours of processing where you may need to use the bathroom, or need a drink of water, want to make a call (which by the way you’re not entitled to, despite what TV says) or a chocolate bar from the vending machine to ease the hunger pangs. Remember that once you’re arrested, you no longer get to make simple decisions. Someone else decides if and when you can go to the bathroom.
#2. Don’t say anything – even if you are innocent
Whatever the reason is for being arrested, mistaken identity, false accusation, victim of circumstance or maybe you just went and did something stupid like slashing your ex’s tires, it’s important to keep your mouth shut. Invoke your right to remain silent and no matter what the cops say or what they may promise you, don’t waive that right. Fight that overwhelming impulse that comes over decent people to cooperate and confess their sins.
Now that is not to say that you should not give the cops information such as your name, address, date of birth, etc, etc. Refusing to cooperate on that level will only serve to delay the booking process and arraignment. And trust me when I say you want to see a Judge as soon as possible and hopefully make bail.
Remember that once you’ve been arrested the police are not there to help you. No matter what they say to you in that regard, their job is to gather evidence and build a strong, solid case against you that will eventually lead to a successful prosecution. And what better evidence is there than a confession or an incriminating statement made by you? The police are certainly not there to defend you.
I remember how frustrating it was for me as a Detective sitting in the ‘box’ with a suspect that I was about to interrogate and hearing them utter the dreadful words, “I ain’t talking” or “I want a lawyer”. It was particularly frustrating in cases where there was either no or very little incriminating evidence, and eliciting a confession was crucial.
#3. Invoke your right to an attorney
Even if you should choose to cooperate in an effort to ‘clear things up’, as suggested by the police, it is wiser to answer questions with your attorney present. They are the experts and the only individuals in the process who genuinely are looking out for your interest (for a small fortune, of course).
Parents especially should pass this advice on to their teenage children and not let it become one of those things that’s never discussed. I’m not implying that your teenagers are candidates for “America’s Most Wanted” but sometimes teenagers make decisions that are not always wise. That whole peer pressure thing. Most states have laws concerning police questioning of juveniles. Basically, a juvenile cannot be questioned without the parents’ consent and presence. The problem lies in those states where teenagers as young as 16 are treated as adults by the police. Getting arrested at any age can be a traumatic and terrifying experience unless you’re a career scum bag, and it’s even more so for a 16-18 year old. If we can’t always rely on teenagers to make wise decisions in their everyday lives, can we trust them enough to know that it’s not always a wise thing to talk to the police should they ever be arrested? As a father and a former cop, I advised my children on many occasions as to what to do if they were ever arrested. It didn’t matter if they were right or wrong, innocent or guilty. I told them to keep their mouths shut, tell the cop you want your Mom and Dad and a lawyer.
Hopefully you will never have to live through the unpleasant experience of being arrested. But if by some unforeseeable circumstance you are, remember that “you have the right to remain silent”. Please use it.