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Five Things To Remember When Facing An Arrest...
You've Been Arrested! Now What?
It's three a.m., and you're leaving a party. You feel a little tipsy, but well enough to drive, even though you know you probably shouldn't. But you climb behind the wheel anyway, start your car, and back out of the drive-way. The road is deserted. Heading towards an intersection, you fail to negotiate a stop-sign, and sure enough, a cop is there waiting for you. He pulls you over, lights flooding your eyes, and gets out of the car. Panicking, you fumble through the glove-compartment, searching for the documents that he will most surely ask for. You find them, just as he reaches your window, and you hand them to him. He returns to his car, and then comes back several minutes later with a question: "Have you been drinking?". You've now reached the critical point where any thing you say or do, can, and will, be used against you in a court of law. This is the point where you must keep a cool head, and not allow your tongue to precede your mind, but you don't. So now what? What's next? Inevitably, he asks you to exit your vehicle, in order to pass several field sobriety tests that he has planned for you. You do your best, all the while proclaiming your innocence, but you ultimately fail. Now you're facing arrest. He cuffs you, leads you to the patrol car, and places you in the back-seat, where you begin to loudly protest. Next, it's off to central booking, and most likely jail, unless you can post bail...
The Common Denominator.
The aforementioned scenario is typical of how many arrests come about; however, there is an endless amount of variables to this equation. It could be drugs, weapons, assault, whatever vice someone has elected to pursue. Yet the one thing that they all have in common is evident arrest, with or without bail. In the advent that someone is facing arrest, there are, however, five points that he or she should remember; points that will ultimately serve them well before a judge or other elected official, and which could assist their attorney in formulating a better defense. Most of these are purely common-sense, which during times of crisis, however, tend to be overlooked, or simply forgotten. They are not hard to remember, and if properly used, can help lead you to legal victory.
Point Number One: "Shut Your Mouth!"
When facing potential arrest, the first, and best thing to do is remain CALM and SHUT YOUR MOUTH! Getting excite will solve nothing, except for perhaps show the cop just how guilty you might be. When talking to an officer, it is always important to maintain eye-contact at all times, and carefully listen to what he or she is telling you. This means that you must, or should, remain silent. The worst thing one can do is talk over an officer, or begin babbling about their alleged innocence. Cops simply don't care that much about here-say, and only want the facts. The only thing worse than talking over an officer is to begin acting frantically by shouting or acting in a threatening nature including using obscenities or calling the officer names. This type of behavior is sure to put you on the fast-track to prison. So when talking to an officer, simply keep your words to a minimum, and let your "yes's" be "yes's", and your "no's" be "no's".
Point Number Two: Always Be Polite.
This point ties in with point number one, wherein silence is golden, and thus conducive of respect, which is what all cops want. They want your attention, and they want the facts--that is all. So give it to them. Be polite, be courteous, and at all times be respectful, using "yes sir", "no sir", "yes ma'am", "no ma'am", or "yes officer". Do not call them by their name, even if worn on a badge. After all, they are not your friend, and are only out to fulfill the duties of their job, which may involve arresting you. The more polite you are, the less chance you have of making an enemy out of the cop who may be potentially testifying against you in court. Chivalry need not be dead, no matter how lifeless the cop may seem...
Point Number Three: Be Honest!
One other big mistake that a lot of people make with the police is being dishonest about their circumstances. Cops, are by nature inquisitive, and well trained in many aspects of human behavior. They are, in essence, professional "human-handlers", and are very well versed with their prey. They can generally tell when people are lying, and will stop at nothing to get at the truth...or bare-bones facts. Often they gather intelligence from a vast array of outside sources including witnesses and other physical evidence that can be damning to the accused's defense. So don't lie. Just shut your mouth, and ask for a lawyer, which brings us to point number four...
Point Number Four: "Am I Being Arrested?"
Now let us propose within our aforementioned scenario, that said officer returns to your vehicle, and begins to interrogate you about the party and your alleged drinking. What do you do? At this point, there is some speculation upon the cop's behalf that you may be mildly intoxicated, in spite of the fact that you may have passed all field sobriety tests. Again, this is where courtesy comes in. Remember, you do not have to answer ANY of his or her questions, however doing so may inflame the cop. If you do decide to answer any of them, be judicious when doing so, as you may be sealing your own fate! At this point, simply ask the officer if he or she is placing you under arrest, and if they are not, ask them if you can leave, or why they are (unlawfully) detaining you. Chances are, within the aforementioned scenario, that they will release you; if not, then please proceed to step number five.
Point Number Five: Requesting A Lawyer
Within our scenario, we have covered what might happen if the cop should designate release, however, we have not covered what could happen if he or she should not. Let us now look at the accused's right to counsel, which can be requested at any time throughout the arrest procedure. From the very moment that the accused requests counsel, all interrogative efforts must cease. End of story. So if incarceration is eminent, as it is within some cases, it is best to request counsel immediately, in order to prevent any incrimination of oneself. In other words, shut your mouth, and ask for a lawyer! If, however, the case is speculative, as it was within our immediate scenario, than requesting such counsel may only come as a last resort. Again, one must always remember, that the law-enforcement community has a job to do, and that they do it extremely well. That is why it is so important to know, and ultimately understand, your rights. Furthermore, they must, or should, "Mirandize" you, or "read you your rights" prior to arrest, though this is not always the case. In today's society, you are often "guilty".......until proven "innocent".