I’ve Been In Your Shoes: What To Do If You’ve Been Arrested
By Richard McDonald
The road from arrest to the outcome is a long journey through a legal maze of twists and turns. I know because I have been there. I understand the shame. The guilt. The embarrassment. I wish I would have had someone who could have guided me through this crazy process.
There were a lot of people who offered me advice but with strings attached. Those strings were high fees via “prison consultation” or through other misguided agendas. I made these mistakes. I paid those high fees and listened to others who did not truly have my best interests at heart.
I wish that I would have come across an organization like Interrogating Justice when I was going through my own journey. I am only sharing my story. It is my hope that it can serve as a guide to anyone facing the criminal justice system.
You have the right to remain silent.
It is unlikely that the local authorities will call you and ask you to turn yourself in. It is more likely that the police will show up at your door with a warrant. They probably will not knock, electing instead to kick down the door in the middle of the night. The element of surprise when making an arrest is common practice for the police.
You can say, “I have nothing to say at this time. Any questions can be directed to my lawyer.” It’s that simple. Once law enforcement is executing a warrant, you can’t do anything at the moment but ride it out. It’s your attorney’s job to deal with the prosecutor and investigating agency, not yours.
You don’t have to agree to a search.
If an officer or agent comes to the door and asks if they can look around, you can say no. There are some searches that law enforcement can do without your permission. But you do not have to allow officers to enter your office, vehicle or home without a valid search warrant. If they are investigating a crime that you or a family member might have committed, then they are there to gather evidence. They are not there to help you figure things out.
In theory, cooperating with law enforcement shows them you have nothing to hide. But, once you’re on the police’s radar, and after a search warrant has been issued, they most likely have evidence against you. Law enforcement is not your friend. Their only goal is to uncover crime and catch people who they think commit it.
I cannot stress this enough: if you’ve been arrested, law enforcement is not there to help those who have allegedly committed crimes. They are there to gather evidence and have a judge decide fate. If they are already knocking on the door, you can remain silent and ask to speak with an attorney. Be cordial, but do not offer up any information as it concerns to their questions.