No one ever plans to get arrested. Getting into legal trouble can be incredibly frightening, but it's important to stay calm and think rationally. Here are four steps you should take if you're detained by the police.
1. Find out if you've been arrested.
If you're detained by the police, the first thing you need to do is figure out if you've been arrested. The police are free to ask you questions without arresting you, and they might rely on ambiguity to do so. Politely ask the police officer if you're under arrest and if you're free to leave. If the police officer says you're not under arrest, you should consider leaving as soon as possible.
2. Use your right to remain silent.
As the Miranda warning states, you have the right to remain silent. This means you have the right to avoid answering police questions that might incriminate you. Avoid answering questions and speak as little as possible until you can consult with an attorney. Be polite to the police officers, but do not volunteer any information, apologies, or comments.
3. Have someone post bail.
You can think of bail like a deposit. It's a fee that you pay in order to be released from jail, which is returned to you if you show up to your court date. The price of bail will depend on the reason you've been arrested. According to FindLaw, if you're arrested during the weekend, you may have to wait until Monday to find out the price of your bail. You should try to post bail as soon as possible, so you can be released from jail. Jails only accept cash for bail payments, so you may need to call a trusted friend or family member to bring you bail money.
4. Hire an attorney.
If you've been arrested and accused of a crime, you need to hire a criminal defense lawyer. This person will meet with you to determine the facts of your case, and they will help you make a defense in a court of law. Criminal defense lawyers spend their careers representing people facing legal charges, and their wealth of experience will help you in this trying time.
If you've been detained by the police, rest assured that you can get through it. Remember to be polite to police officers, but protect yourself and look out for your rights. These steps will help you remember what to do if you're ever stopped by local law enforcement.