There are some situations in life where it’s important to know what to do right after. For example, if you get into a car accident, you need to know the steps to follow to ensure everyone is safe and that you get a proper record of the accident. Another situation along the same lines is getting arrested. Whether you were arrested justly or by mistake, it’s important that you follow some guidelines to ensure you get the best possible outcome. With that in mind, here’s what to do if you’re arrested:
Invoke Your Rights
The most important thing to know if you’ve been arrested is your rights. Everyone has certain rights in this situation and by knowing what yours are, you can avoid potentially making the situation worse. For example, you have the right to an attorney and the right to remain silent. This means even if the police start asking you questions, you do not have to answer them and you have the right to have an attorney there for all questions. From the moment you are arrested, keep quiet and wait until you have some professional experience by your side.
Call for a Lawyer
Another one of your rights is the right to make a phone call. One of your phone calls should either be to a lawyer or a family member. If you don’t know the number for an attorney, have someone else call for you. A lawyer is better equipped to handle this situation and ensure you don’t face a harsher punishment than you need to.
When calling for a lawyer, it’s a good idea to call an attorney with experience in what you were arrested for. For example, if you were arrested for a DUI, get an attorney that specializes in DUI arrests. By doing so, you’ll get someone who is very familiar with the laws related to DUIs and how to best approach your case. You can learn a lot about what happens after a DUI online by reading DUI frequently asked questions, but the best way to handle this situation or any other is still with a lawyer.
Go Through the Legal Process
After you’re arrested, there are a number of legal steps you need to go through. These specific steps will depend on why you were arrested. For example, if you were arrested for a relatively minor misdemeanor, you might be let go and given a court date that you need to appear at. For more serious crimes, you may need to remain in jail until you post bond. Posting bond is when you give the government cash, which they hold onto until after your court date. You are released until then, but if you don’t show up for your court date, you forfeit the money.
At the court date, you’ll receive your sentencing. This can be as little as a fine or as large as a prison sentence. Again, your lawyer can help walk you through this entire process and prepare you for what to expect. Hopefully, you were arrested for something minor and you won’t have to face too harsh of a punishment.
Look to Expunge Your Record
When you’re arrested, these records get stored by the police. Many police departments make these arrest records available online, which anyone can access. You likely don’t want your mugshot to appear when someone Google’s your name, so you should explore expunging your record. This is when your record is wiped clean and all records of your arrest are removed from the database. Not everyone can get their record expunged, but if you meet certain requirements, you may be able to. Talk to a lawyer or research the specific requirements for expunging a record in your state for more information.
Learn from Any Mistakes
Finally, if you were arrested for just cause, then this means you did something wrong. The best way to ensure you don’t get arrested again is by learning from your mistakes. Did you have one too many drinks before driving? Download a rideshare app on your phone so you’re not tempted to do it again. Did you get into an altercation at work? Figure out what triggered your anger and work on handling a situation like that better next time.
We hope that this guide was able to provide you with some advice on what to do if you’re arrested. This is never a pleasant experience, but with a few tips, you can make it a little less stressful. The key thing is to know your rights and to work with an attorney who can help guide you through the process.