Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Your Rights and What to do Upon Arrest

You've been arrested, or someone you know has been arrested.  Don't
    assume  that  it  can't  happen  to  you; the ease by which one can get
    arrested is amazing. Many people believe  that  if  they  "explain  the
    situation"  or tell their side of the story to the police, they will be
    let go, or at least things will go easier on them if they  "cooperate".
    Nothing could be further from the truth.

        Perhaps  you  or  the  person  arrested feel that you were unjustly
    arrested because you are innocent.  Obviously,  the  arrest  would  not
    have  taken  place if the police agreed with you.  It is the job of the
    police to get as much information from you in  order  to  convict  you.
    Many  police  officers  consider  themselves  to  be  a  combination of
    prosecutor, judge and jury, and they will do their best to confuse you,
    intimidate you and to get information from you that will  convict  you.
    And  when  your  trial  finally  occurs, it is far from uncommon to see
    police officers lie in court in order to  convict  you.   You  will  be
    stunned to find out what you supposedly told them.

        About  90%  of  all  convictions  are primarily based upon evidence
    elicited from the person arrested.  Therefore, what you do or say  upon
    arrest is absolutely crucial as to whether you are convicted or not.

        When  you  have  been  arrested,  you will be invited to "tell your
    side of the story." Don't feel that you can just  because  your  rights
    haven't  been  read  to  you.  Do  not  be  tempted  to tell the police
    anything.  Don't try to lie.   Give  the  police  your  name,  address,
    etc., and don't try to use an alias or some other name than your . When
    you  are questioned about anything else, POLITELY insist upon having an
    attorney present.  Ask politely for a telephone.  Often,  you  will  be
    told  that you will be permitted to make a telephone call "after we are
    finished." Simply state politely t you  will  not  discuss  any  matter
    without first consulting an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney,
    it  does  not  matter.   One  can  be  appointed  for  you, or a public
    defender can be appointed.  Again, politely ask to  make  phone  calls.
    If  the police continue to try to question you, constantly, constantly,
    constantly politely ask for an attorney.  Insist that you  will  answer
    no questions without an attorney.

        There  are  several  police  techniques that you should know about.
    One is called the "Mutt and Jeff" technique, and is the  most  commonly
    used.  In  this  situation,  one of the police officers will act as the
    "tough guy." He might put a gun to your face and  tell  you  that  he'd
    like  to  blow  you  away.  He may call you every name in the book, and
    physically abuse you.  They tell you how you are going  to  ja  hreaten
    you  with  deportation (if you are an immigrant), swear at you, and use
    every technique you can think of to intimidate  you.   Then  the  other
    police  officer approaches you.  He is "Mr. Nice Guy".  Maybe he offers
    you coffee or food, or a cigarette e tells you how bad  the  other  guy
    is,  and  that he wants to help you. Then he tells you that if you tell
    him "what really happened", he can get that "tough  guy"  off  of  your
    back.   He  genuinely  seems  to  sympathize  with  you and seems to be
    concerned about situation.  Don't fall for it.   Politely  refuse,  and
    ask to see an attorney.

        Yet  another  technique  of  police questioning is to tell you that
    the person you were arrested with has confessed to the crime,  or  that
    you  have  been identified by witnesses.  Sometimes the person arrested
    is placed in the same room as the person  t  arrested  with,  and  that
    person  DOES  confess.   Don't  let  that  shake you.  Say nothing, and
    politely refuse comment, and insist upon seeing an attorney.

        If the charge is fairly serious, the arrested is often taken to  an
    "interrogation   room".   The  room  is  intimidating  and  depressing.
    Usually, there are no windows, and the  furniture  will  be  stark.   A
    wooden  table, wooden chairs without arms, and the room will be painted
    pea green or gray.   Often  there  is  a  small  bath  with  a  mirror.
    Sometimes  it is a two-way mirror.  An officer or detective will sit on
    either side of you, and your  back  will  be  to  the  door.   Politely
    refuse  to answer any questions, and ask for an attorney.  They will be
    persistent.  Don't scream th yo ur rights haven't  been  read  to  you.
    Simply  politely ask for an attorney, and say NOTHING.  If an assistant
    state's attorney comes in, remember that he or she is a  prosecutor,and
    will  also  be  there  to  elicit information to convict you.  Politely
    refus nd ask for an attorney.

        People seem to believe that you are permitted only one  phone  call
    from  a  police station.  That comes from movies.  Police may even tell
    you that you have only one phone call.  You  may  make  as  many  phone
    calls  as  is  reasonable.   Your primary objectives are: (1) to get an
    attorney, and (2) to get the bail money required, i il has been set. If
    bail hasn't been set, then you will be going to court  fairly  soon  to
    PHONE. The police may want you to enter what is known as  a  "line-up",
    where  you  and  sever  th  ers  are  placed  in a line for purposes of
    identification by alleged witnesses.  Or you might  be  invited  for  a
    "show-up",  where  a  witness  is asked to identify you on a one-on-one
    basis.  Politely refuse, but  do  not  attempt  to  physically  resist.
    Insist  upon an attorney being present.  If you are ignored, attempt to
    pay attention to police conversations with the  witnesses  and  attempt
    to  mentally note the physical descriptions, including clothing, of the
    others in the "line- with you.  Remember, make known your desire for an
    attorney, but do not physically resist.

        If you receive a phone call from someone  who  has  been  arrested,
    tell  them  to:  (1)  Say  nothing  to  the  police,  (2) object to any
    questioning by the police without an attorney present, and  (3)  to  be
    polite  at  all  times.   Ask them what the bail amount is, and if they
    don't know, ask to speak to someone who does.  If  bond  hasn  een  set
    yet,  find out when bond court is, and try to get family and friends to
    go.  Tell the accused that you will get them all the help you can  get.
    Get  phone numbers of relatives and friends.  Tell the accused that you
    will attempt to get an attorn an d do so.   Don't  forget,  an  accused
    person  in  custody  is the loneliest and most frightened person in the
    world.  They are surrounded by police officers, and you  are  the  only
    person who can give them moral support, and to give them resolve.

        The  police know that the arrested is frightened and lonely.  Don't
    wait until "your rights are  read"  before  exercising  them.   Somehow
    rights,  if read at all, tend to be read after the police have elicited
    the information  they  want.   Then  it's  too  late.   At  trial,  the
    policeman  will  testify  that  your  rights  were  read BEFORE you the

        When you have been arrested, it is not wise to start yelling  about
    your  civil  rights.   Lights  go out, treatment becomes worse, and you
    will be considered a trouble-maker.  Be polite at all times, and if you
    are questioned, politely ask to see an attorney.  Then ask the  officer
    about  his  family, or ask about what the officer thinks about a recent
    sporting event.  It certainly doesn't hurt if the officer e ually  gets
    to  like you even though you won't answer his questions.  Don't forget,
    you have the right to an attorney whether or not you can afford one.

        If bond hasn't been set, and you or the arrested is  scheduled  for
    bond  court, get as many friends and relatives there as possible.  When
    the arrested comes from the  lock-up  area,  nothing  helps  more  than
    seeing  familiar  faces.  Even more importantly, the judge setting bond
    is impressed because friends and family in the  courtroom  shows  roots
    in  the  community,  and the bond set will be lower. If you are a le in
    your community, or are a  person  that  an  arrested  might  call,  you
    should  have  the  office  and  home  phone  numbers  of  at least five
    criminal defense attorneys.  Arrests tend to occur during  the  evening
    and  early  morning  hours,  so  having  home  phone  numb o f criminal
    attorneys is crucial.

        Additionally, make sure that you don't discuss your case with  your
    cell-mates.   It  is  not  at  all  unusual  that a cell-mate will tell
    police what you said in order  to  get  their  own  situation  reduced.
    Again,  be  polite,  but tell a cell-mate nothing.  And don't listen to
    their advice, regardless of how experienced they s to be.

        Remember, what happens in  the  twenty-four  to  forty-eight  hours
    after  arrest  is absolutely crucial.  Don't discuss your case with the
    police, insist upon an attorney, and be polite at all  times.   If  you
    are  contacted  by  an  arrested  person, give him or her the preceding
    advice.  Tell the arrested that you will attempt to  an  attorney,  and
    will  try  to  arrange bond money, or to have relatives in court at the
    bond hearing.  Get phone numbers of relatives and friends, and  do  not
    discuss  the  case  with the arrested, and tell them not to discuss the
    case with anybody except a tt orney for  them.   Support  the  arrested
    emotionally as much as possible.


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