Ada B. Pozo
Miami criminal defense attorney Ada B. Pozo provides five tips to keep in mind if you are arrested:
1- Do not resist arrest. Even if you feel that you are being unlawfully detained. It is never a good idea to resist arrest and/or become combative with law enforcement. You will have the opportunity to fight the validity of your arrest in front of a judge on a later date. Arguing with law enforcement regarding your arrest may result in additional charges. If you become combative, not only are you risking additional charges, you are also risking being physically injured.
2- Exercise your right to remain silent. When being investigated or arrested for an alleged crime, you may feel compelled to give explanations to law enforcement. In the majority of circumstances, this is NOT advisable. The police may not force you to give a statement. As soon as you inform law enforcement that you will not speak unless your attorney is present, they must cease questioning you. You will want to discuss any statements with your attorney prior to making any statement to law enforcement.
3- Do not enter into any “deals” with law enforcement that have not been reviewed by your attorney. In order to obtain information from you that may incriminate you and/or someone else, the police may make you promises of what may sound like attractive deals. They may promise leniency and/or a dismissal of charges in exchange for your cooperation. All too often, individuals desperately trying to obtain some benefit will give police the very information that will ultimately have them convicted. Police are under no legal obligation to fulfill oral promises that they may make to a detained person in order to obtain a statement from them. It is always advisable to have an attorney obtain any “promises” in writing from individuals authorized to fulfill said promises prior to entering into any “deals.”
4- Do not speak with anyone in jail or anyone on the telephone regarding your case. Often times other inmates in a detention facility will befriend fellow inmates. The goal of some of these “jail snitches” may be to obtain statements from you that they can repeat to law enforcement in an attempt to win some favor on their own case(s). When speaking from a detention facility telephone, you need to be aware that all phone calls are monitored. Always assume that law enforcement is listening to every word you utter while in a detention facility.
5- Hire an experienced criminal defense attorney. A criminal conviction can have devastating consequences on your future. It can result in your incarceration, being denied future employment, loss of your civil rights, loss of federal aid, and if you are not a citizen, regardless of how long you have resided in the United States, it can result in your deportation. It is important that you have an experienced, knowledgeable, and aggressive legal team on your side.