If you find yourself arrested in Massachusetts, here are some ideas to prevent a bad situation from getting worse
Aside from the obvious advice to hire a criminal defense attorney, there are several other things to consider if you are arrested.
This blog is not legal advice, but rather a list of ideas from experience criminal defense attorneys who have seen it all. We have had clients drastically improve their odds of winning a case by doing the right things (i.e., keeping their mouths shut), and other cases where charges pile onto what should have been relatively minor encounters. If you are facing charges, call us for a consultation today. If you haven’t yet been arrested, you may want to read this page to prevent a bad situation from getting worse.
Don’t talk about the case on the phone
When you’re arrested in Massachusetts (and most other states), you are allowed one phone call from the police station. Usually these calls are recorded, so you don’t want to talk about the allegations. Instead, it makes sense to keep these calls brief and limit them to request for bail, or to arrange for an attorney to meet you in court the next morning.
If you’re held in the county jail after arrest or pending trial, calls are also recorded. I can’t tell you how many of our clients have gone from having strong defenses to being completely screwed by making admissions or other statements to friends or family members on the phone. In a recent case, our client allegedly threatened a confidential informant on a recorded jail call. The prosecutor found out, ordered a copy of the call, and is planning to add a charge of witness intimidation.
Don’t make small talk with the police
Don’t make small talk with the police during an arrest or booking. If you’re fortunate enough to have nice arresting or booking officers, good. But don’t let their charm lull you into a false sense of security. The police are not there to be your friends during an arrest or booking process. Anything you say can be turned over to the prosecutor, and can make things a lot worse. Even seemingly innocent comments can be twisted into quasi admissions, or a link in the chain toward your conviction.
Don’t talk to cellmates about your case
First, your conversations may be overheard. Second, unscrupulous cellmates could try to use your statements as a tool to help with their cases. It’s not worth the risk
Don’t give permission to search
Do not give the police permission to search your home, car, or yourself. Be polite but clear.
Ask for an attorney and then remain silent
Of course you should not speak with the police about the allegations. Silence alone may not be enough, though, depending on your jurisdiction. Ask for an attorney. You can say “I’m not answering any questions without an attorney present.” The police are legally required to stop questioning you when you make that statement.
Don’t fight the police
This should go without saying, but don’t fight the police. The chances of you actually escaping are very unlikely, and you risk the addition of several charges by getting into a fight with police. It does not end well.
Don’t reach into your pockets
When you’re pulled over or on the verge of arrest, don’t reach into your pockets, or into a glove compartment, unless the police order you to produce an ID or car registration. Otherwise, they could think you are reaching for a weapon, or use your movements as probable cause to search.
You’re in a bad situation. Be polite and cooperative in the sense of following lawful police commands (i.e., sit down, stand up, put hands behind back, get into police car). If you treat them with respect, chances are they’ll reciprocate. Getting into an argument with police – even if you’re 100% in the right – does not help your situation. The police have a lot of discretion in deciding what charges to lodge, and you don’t want to give them incentive to make the list longer.
Do the police have to read you your Miranda rights?
The police do not have to read you your Miranda rights just because you’re arrested. Basically, they only have to read you your rights if you are both “in custody” and they are going to question you about a crime.
If they arrest you and question you without giving you the Miranda warnings, the arrest doesn’t get thrown out. Instead, your attorney can file a motion to suppress your statements. Essentially that means that the statements can be kept out of court and not used at trial, as a punishment to the police for violating your rights.
Hire a criminal defense attorney
This part is obvious. If you have the means to hire an attorney, make sure to retain an experienced criminal defense attorney.
The experienced criminal defense attorneys have helped thousands of clients throughout Massachusetts. If you or a loved one is facing charges, call us at 781-797-0555 for a free telephone consultation today.