What To Do:
Anything you say when police are arriving on scene or walking towards you can be used against you later. While you may have not been read your Miranda rights, there are provisions of the law that still allow initial statements to be used against you.
If you are being arrested or detained, the Louisiana Constitution also provides that you shall be advised of the reason for the arrest or detention. You have the right to ask the reason you are being detained, but be cautious to balance that right with your right to remain silent. Ask the officers politely and respectfully why you are being arrested or detained and then invoke your right to an attorney and your right to remain silent.
Assert your right to an attorney.
While officers may do and say things to encourage you to make a statement and waive your right to counsel, it is almost always better to remain silent and have counsel present. Once you have asked for an attorney to be present, police can no longer question you without one present unless you validly waive that right.
If you are stopped by police and they begin to question you about an incident, remain calm. Be polite and respectful with the police officer, but do not hesitate to exercise your right to remain silent and your right to have an attorney present.
What Not To Do:
Don’t get aggressive with the officer!
It’s understandable to be upset when stopped by police, but a bad attitude and aggressive behavior can make things significantly worse. For example, in a police report in Caddo Parish, there is part of the form where the police officer documents your attitude during the arrest process. Make sure this section doesn’t reflect poorly on you.
There are several great examples of what not to do during a police arrest thanks to some “viral” arrest videos. Those videos feature individuals who are screaming that they have rights, cussing at the police officers, and constantly hollering that their rights are being violated by police officers during the arrest. This scene may be captured by a bystander on a cell phone video and used against you later. Screaming, cursing, resisting, and insulting officers during an arrest may cause significant damage to your credibility at trial.
While you have every right to document your encounter with law enforcement, remember your attitude and actions do matter! Furthermore, whether you agree with the arrest or not, failing to cooperate with an arrest, pulling away from handcuffs, and other actions can lead to an additional charge of resisting arrest. If you feel you are being mistreated during an arrest, the best thing you can do is ensure you follow every request being made by officers. In that case, the video of your arrest can only vindicate you and not vilify you.
If you are in the unfortunate situation where you are about to be questioned by or arrested by police, remember these things…
1) Exercise your right to remain silent
2) Exercise your right to an attorney by saying “I want an attorney present” before you make any statements to the police.
3) Remain calm.
4) Don’t get aggressive with the officer.
Following these tips can make all the difference in your criminal case! If you need legal assistance following an arrest, call The Berg Law Firm today. If you are wondering what happens after an arrest, head over here to find out what happens after you’re taken to jail.