Stop talking. Seriously, stop talking. Your vocabulary is now severely limited to:

  • I want to contact my attorney
  • I refuse to answer questions

It is entirely possible that you will have to spend some time in a cell, maybe even a day or two or a month. That is better than spending a year or two or ten.

After an arrest you will be read your Miranda rights, the ones you always see being recited to suspects on TV dramas. These are your rights to be exercised. The Constitution gives you these rights so take advantage because there is nothing you can say to law enforcement that will help you post arrest.

  • You have the right to remain silent and refuse to answer questions
  • Anything you say may be used against you in a court of law
  • You have the right to consult an attorney before speaking with police and to have an attorney present during question now or in the future
  • If you can’t afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you
  • If you decide to answer questions without an attorney you can stop answering at any time until you speak with an attorney.
  • Knowing and understanding these rights, will you answer my questions

Think about this for a moment. The above bullet points will be relayed to you in some fashion, while you are discombobulated, in cuffs, being placed in a cruiser. You might be scared, or confused, or depressed. Whatever. Your temporary inconvenience can grow into a lifetime of regret if you talk.

You have only two sentences in your entire brain:

  • I want to contact my attorney
  • I refuse to answer questions

Suppose you try to call an attorney and no one answers – now what?

The advice remains the same as above. Don’t talk. Not one word other than to tell the police you will not talk and you want a lawyer.

New-Haven-arrested-LawyerYou will be fingerprinted and processed by the police, you might even have you rights read multiple times. If you decide to speak they will happily talk to you. Your words will get you convicted, even if you are innocent.

You will be assigned a bond amount. A bond is a tool the state uses to ensure your presence at your court date. The more serious the crime the higher the bond amount. Some minor offenses will be assigned as PTA, or a promise to appear, meaning that no bond is set.

If a bond is set, you either have to pay, or you can enlist the help of a bail bonds person. If you pay the bond, you can retrieve the amount you paid at the resolution of the case. You will be released with directions to appear at your court date. Using a bail bonds person you pay usually around 7% of the total amount and they front the remainder of the money. You will not get the 7% back at the end of the case. This percentage can change depending on some factors.

If you can’t make bail you will stay in jail.

Guess what? If you speak with the police you also will stay in jail and have now likely given them sufficient evidence to convict.

Have I made my point yet?

The first court date is a day the judge will decide whether the bond was set too high or too low. Usually, the judge agrees with the amount already set.

Answering questions in a misguided attempt to get a lower bond will likely result in easier conviction. Sympathy is not a factor here. Justifications for your actions may have no weight. Stop talking.

So what do you do if you get arrested? Get through that night without doing anything to help the police convict you. Then, talk to an attorney as soon as possible.

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