As a criminal defense attorney, one of the first things I am often asked when meeting new people is "What should I REALLY do if I get arrested?" It seems that pop-culture and television have given people some incorrect ideas of how to act around police officers so I wanted to put together a guide on the topic.
First and foremost, DO NOT TALK TO THE POLICE. You should be civil with the officer, and you should tell him your name and give him your identification if he asks, but do not speak to him any further. Just tell the officer that you need to speak to your attorney before discussing the matter and he will stop questioning you immediately. If the officer continues to question you request an attorney he is violating the law. Any discussions after you request an attorney may be suppressed as the officer has no right to continue to question you. However, never mistake a police officer's kindness for any type of lenient treatment. The officer is not your friend. He may try to persuade you to speak in order to use any statements as evidence - do not make this mistake.
Do your research. Understand the charges against you and the penalties for those charges.
Do fight your charges. You are innocent until proven guilty.
Most importantly, do request an attorney at the earliest possible opportunity.
Don't settle for a court-appointed attorney. You deserve focused, aggressive representation.
Don't wait. The sooner you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney, the sooner your attorney can begin fighting for you.
Don't assume that you are ruined. With your attorney's help, you can always fight your charges.
If you have any questions regarding an arrest or would like a free consultation on your case, do not hesitate to contact my office at 215-914-5791.