Facing criminal charges is a dire situation to find yourself in. In an instance of a conviction, punishment often consists of a sentence of jail time or prison along with significant fines.
There will also be probation on top of that and potentially further consequences based on the nature of the crime and if you had prior convictions.
For instance, traffic-related convictions will result in a suspended license, and if your dealing with a sex-related offense, you will be registered as a sex offender. It is the prosecuting attorney, along with the law enforcement authorities, to ensure that those charged receive convictions that go “to the fullest extent that the law allows.
These professionals will work diligently to find the necessary evidence, documentation, and sources to ensure that happens.
On the other hand, the criminal lawyer on the defense side assesses the charges brought against you in an attempt to determine the most effective advice to offer for you to progress forward and how to approach a defense in the case.
Before it gets to this level, let’s look at some steps you should take as you’re being arrested and taken into custody.
Tips For Dealing With Law Enforcement Officers When Being Criminally Charged
When you break the law, the evidence will inevitably stack up against you, and law enforcement officers will track you down to charge you criminally. How you handle yourself during the arrest will be vital throughout your case.
The more amiable this process, the criminal defense lawyer will have fewer challenges burdening them, and there will be less fodder for the prosecuting team. Learn about the different forms of punishment at https://online.pointpark.edu/criminal-justice/types-of-criminal-punishment/ and then check out how you should handle yourself with law enforcement.
● Use respect and be polite when interacting with law enforcement officers
Law enforcement authorities are under intense pressure with a dangerous and exceptionally challenging role. You will find some who perform their jobs more aggressively and with an air of rudeness.
As a rule, the police strive to be courteous to the public it serves and hope to be fair and just to those who are also respectful of their position and the work they need to do.
As you would use manners in any everyday situation, acknowledging the authorities with “Ma’am” and “Sir” is common courtesy, as is using “thank you” and “please.”
It’s not unlike interacting with the general public while running errands or attending an event. Manners have been taught since we’ve all been in grade school and shouldn’t be forgotten with someone who needs to do their job just because you’re unhappy with the circumstances.
● Stay at the scene without incident
Attempting to flee will make your situation so much worse. Not only is that essentially admitting that you either committed the crime or had something to do with it, but it’s adding to your charges. If law enforcement directs you to stop, then you must follow their instructions.
In this particular situation, a criminal defense attorney must consider this when deciding whether to handle the case. It makes their work that much more difficult because fleeing is in itself a criminal offense. There’s not much you can say in defense of someone running from arrest. Go here for details on criminal law.
● Stay alert while the arrest is underway
The suggestion is there are essentially three variations in police encounters. These include: (quote) “detention based on reasonable suspicion; arrest based on probable cause; and consensual contact.” (end quote)
When a police officer approaches you, having these specified is critical. You should always ask law enforcement if you are free to leave or if you are being placed under arrest or detained.
If you’re free to go, you should immediately excuse yourself and leave. If you can’t go but you’re also not being arrested, it’s essential to be mindful of your rights and be prepared to institute these. Some include the “right to remain silent” and “right to remain free from unreasonable search and seizure.”
● Polite is vital, but you don’t have to be meek
Standing up for yourself and your rights requires a bit of assertiveness. There is a difference between that and aggression or rudeness. If you become meek or nervous around the police officers, they could misinterpret the behavior as surrendering your rights or waiving them. That would disallow the constitutional protections everyone is afforded.
Unfortunately, law enforcement receives specific training exercises showing them how to coax people into foregoing these protections. While you must abide by commands issued by law enforcement, requests are not required.
● Stand by your right to silence
The Fifth Amendment gives you the right to protect against incriminating yourself, making it unnecessary for you to have a conversation with law enforcement concerning an open investigation. Whatever you say to the officers, regardless of your innocence, is accessible for use against you.
The law enforcement team and the prosecutors on the case are to use whatever means possible, any documentation, sources, or evidence, to ensure a guilty verdict, including taking statements out of context to suit their venue.
When the police stop you for any reason, the protocol should be that you answer any questions relating to “standard identification.” Don’t answer any other requests or have chitchat with the officers.
If the team decides to take you into custody, you can plead your rights to remain silent and request an attorney. Any statements made from that point should include the presence of a criminal defense attorney.
The criminal defense attorney will work tirelessly to weed through whatever evidence, documentation, sources, or statements produced by the prosecuting team and the law enforcement officers to disprove their “facts.”
If you believe there was wrongdoing on the part of the police officers or with any of the processing, it’s vital not to interject while in their custody; instead, wait until you’re with the criminal defense attorney who has your best interest in mind. The professional will assess your circumstances and always stand by your rights.