What Are My Rights if I Am Arrested?
Most people would agree that being placed under arrest is a terrifying experience. Questions may rush through your head. Will I face prison time? Will I lose my job? Will my family disown me? The most important thing you can do if you are placed under arrest is to stay calm. Remember, you have certain rights that nobody can take away. You will be doing yourself a huge favor if you remain calm and flex your rights while in police custody. These rights include:
- You have the right to remain silent: Police are going to do whatever they can to get you to talk while they have you in custody. They may offer to let you go or give you fewer charges. Alternatively, they could threaten you with more severe charges or punishments. These are cases where police are trying to play on your ignorance of the law in order to get you to confess to a crime. Thanks to the Fifth Amendment, you do not have to have to answer questions that may incriminate you. If the police try to offer you a deal or threaten you, simply tell them that wish to speak with an attorney.
- You have the right to an attorney: Police cannot deprive you of your right to obtain legal counsel, even if they say otherwise. You have the right to an attorney during questioning or a trial. Once you have requested one, the police cannot continue to question you without your attorney present.
- You are protected from cruel and unusual punishment: The police cannot treat you inhumanely while you are in their custody. If they deprive you of food, water or sleep, then your rights may have been violated. You cannot be tortured or treated in a way that robs you of your basic dignity.
- You have the right to a trial: If you are facing criminal charges, then you have a right to trial within a reasonable time after your arrest. You cannot be deprived of this right.
- You are innocent until proven guilty: You are not automatically guilty just because you were placed under arrest. Even though the arresting officers may say otherwise, the prosecution must first prove that you are guilty of the charge or charges.
- Police must inform you of your Miranda rights: If you are placed under arrest and interrogated by the police, they must inform you of your Miranda rights. This is also called a “Miranda warning.” Police must inform you that you have the right to remain silent, that anything you say can be used against you in court. You must be informed of your right to an attorney, and that you do not have to answer questions without your attorney present. Finally, you must be told that if you cannot afford an attorney, that one will be provided for you.
What Happens If I Am Deprived of My Rights?
If you are deprived of your rights, any information given to the police during questioning may be inadmissible in court. As a result, your charges could be reduced or dismissed. Depending on the circumstances, you could even be owed damages.
If you or someone close to you was placed under arrest, then you should contact an attorney right away. The San Jose criminal defense lawyers at the Law Office of Daniel Jensen, P.C. can help determine whether your rights were violated while you were in custody.