For the average person, being arrested is a fairly traumatic event. It can also be confusing for someone who has never been involved in the criminal justice system. No matter how many police dramas or reality television shows you have watched, actually going through the arrest process is a shock for most people. If you were recently arrested, you may also find yourself wondering what you are supposed to do next. For the first-time defendant, a Murfreesboro criminal defense lawyer explains some common steps you should probably take during, and after, an arrest.
- Do not let your emotions get the better of you. Specifically, do not resist arrest. If you did not commit the crime, you may be very angry at the fact that you are being accused and arrested. Your emotional response is understandable; however, it could make matters worse. Acting on your anger or outrage will only add an additional charge of resisting. Let your attorney defend you.
- Exercise your right to remain silent. You have a Constitutional right to remain silent. Exercise it. Once the decision has been made to arrest you, talking your way out of it is not an option. Instead, you will likely talk yourself into a conviction. Moreover, it is the prosecuting attorney who has the power at that point, not the police officer so save your breath – and possibly your freedom – and do not engage.
- Ask for an attorney – repeatedly if necessary. You also have a Constitutional right to have an attorney present anytime the police question you while you are in custody. Exercise this right by asking for an attorney the minute the police start to ask you questions. They may try and subtly (or not so subtly) convince you that you don’t need an attorney. Just keep reiterating that you want an attorney. Be respectful but firm in your request and refusal to talk.
- Use your phone call wisely. Use that infamous “one phone call” wisely. Call someone who is likely to answer an unknown or private number. Moreover, call someone with the ability to get your bond money together and the wherewithal to figure out how to pay it.
- Do not talk to cellmates. While you are in custody, keep your mouth shut. It may be tempting to vent to other cellmates about the injustice you have suffered; however, the authorities often cut deals with jailhouse “snitches” who are willing to testify against a cellmate for a deal in their own case.
- Consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Whether you are still in custody or out, your focus should be on hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Defendants frequently make irreversible mistakes during the early stages of a criminal prosecution because they do not have an attorney on their side protecting their rights.
- Write down pertinent information as soon as you get the opportunity. Everyone’s memory fades over time. If you manage to get released on bail, sit down and write out a narrative of events for your attorney with all pertinent information. Make sure you make it clear it is a communication intended only for your attorney so it is protected by the attorney-client privilege.
- Do not discuss the case with anyone but your attorney! Really, this means anyone. Conversations with your attorney are privileged, meaning nothing you say can be used against you and your attorney cannot repeat anything you tell him/her. Anything you tell anyone else, however, could be used against you and the prosecution could force that person to testify using the subpoena powers of the court.
- Be honest with your attorney. Human nature makes most of us mistrustful, particularly after going through an arrest and being accused of a crime. Your attorney, however, cannot do his/her job properly if you are not upfront. There is nothing worse for a defense attorney than being broadsided by an important fact or piece of evidence in the middle of a trial that the client should have divulged. You are only hurting yourself and your defense by keeping things to yourself.
Contact a Murfreesboro Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you have additional questions or concerns about a criminal prosecution in the State of Tennessee, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced Murfreesboro criminal defense lawyer immediately. Contact the team at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your appointment.