Know Your Rights!
Whether you are arrested or detained, you do not have to answer any questions except to give your name and address and show some identification if requested. If you are not sure that you are arrested then you probably have been arrested.
What Rights do I Have?
When you are arrested, whether you are an adult citizen or non-citizen, you have certain rights because you have been arrested. Before the law enforcement officer questions you, he or she should tell you that:
You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say may be used against you. You have a right to have a lawyer present while you are questioned. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you. These are your “Miranda” rights, guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. If you are not given these warnings, your lawyer can ask that any statements you made to the police not be used against you in court. But this does not necessarily mean that your case will be dismissed. This does not apply if you volunteer information without being questioned by the police.
Once I am told my Rights, can I be Questioned?
You can be questioned, without a lawyer present, only if you voluntarily give up your rights and if you understand what you are giving up. If you agree to the questioning, then change your mind, questioning must stop as soon as you say that you want a lawyer. If the questioning continues after you request a lawyer and you continue to talk, your answers can be used against you if you testify to something different.
You may be required to give certain physical evidence. For example, if you are suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol you may be requested to take a test to measure the amount of alcohol in your system. If you refuse to take the test, your driver’s license will be suspended and the refusal will be used against you in court.
Once you are booked, meaning your arrest is written into official police records and you are finger printed and photographed, you have a right to make and complete three telephone calls that are free within the local dialing area.
When Should I see a Lawyer?
If you are arrested for a crime, particularly a serious one, you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible. He or she has a better sense of what you should and should not say to law enforcement officers to avoid being misinterpreted or misunderstood. The lawyer also can advise you or your family or friends on the bail process.