What should I do if I'm arrested?

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.

First and foremost, DO NOT TALK TO THE POLICE. You should be civil with the officers, and you may tell them your name and give them your identification if they ask, but you are not under any obligation to speak to them further. You may tell the officers that you need to speak to your attorney before discussing the matter and they will stop questioning you immediately. If the officers continue to question you after you request an attorney, they are violating the law. Any discussions after you request an attorney may be suppressed and deemed inadmissible in court. However, never mistake a police officer's kindness for lenient treatment. The officer is not your friend - they are there to do a job and that job may end up with you behind bars. The officer may try to persuade you to speak in order to use any statements as evidence - do not make this mistake.

DO:

  • 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

  • Don't settle for a court-appointed attorney. You deserve focused, aggressive representation.

  • Don't wait. The sooner you contact an experienced attorney, the sooner your attorney can begin preserving evidence and 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, do not hesitate to contact Attorney Michael F. Niznik at 267-589-0601.

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