Know Your Rights: Getting Arrested
Getting arrested is no laughing matter. If you have never had a lot of interaction with law enforcement before, it can be quite scary, especially if you don’t think you’ve done anything wrong. While being arrested does mean that you lose certain freedoms, such as the ability to leave if you want to, you don’t surrender your rights as a citizen. But what are some of those rights?
Right to Remain Silent
When you are arrested, the police will interview you and try and get you to tell them what is going on or to confess. Anything that you do say to them is on the record, and they will use it against you. On the other hand, you don’t have to say anything. You cannot be forced to talk. But that doesn’t mean that they won’t ask you questions. Tell them that you aren’t going to answer, and then don’t say anything, no matter what they ask you. Even if you have said you won’t answer, they will still use anything that you say.
Right to An Attorney
Every person arrested by police has the right to have their attorney present. As soon as a person states that they want an attorney the police can no longer question them until the attorney arrives. You can ask for an attorney at any time, but you have to be very specific. Sometimes the police will ignore requests that aren’t forceful enough. When requesting to speak to a lawyer, make sure that you clearly tell them that you want to speak to a lawyer now and that you won’t say anything until you have an attorney.
Right to Medical Care
If you are hurt during the arrest or you have a pre-existing medical condition, law enforcement is required to treat you. But they can’t do that if you don’t speak up. Let someone know when you are being booked if you need treatment and continue to insist on it until you receive treatment, especially if it is a serious medical concern.
Right to A Speedy Trial
Once you are arrested, you have to be charged with a crime within 72 hours or law enforcement has to let you go. After they have charged you, they need to set a court date within a reasonable amount of time. This protects you from being incarcerated for a long time before you are tried.
Even when you have committed a crime, you don’t surrender any of your rights during the arrest process. Don’t be afraid to insist that you are treated properly, and to seek redress if you are not.