During and shortly after an arrest, you have rights that may not be violated.
Being arrested is a nerve-wracking experience. But, it’s important to put your fears aside so you can focus solely on protecting your rights.
The right to remain silent
The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects people against self-incrimination. Basically, this means that people who are placed under arrest have the right to remain silent so they do not provide the police with information that could be used against them in their criminal case.
The right to remain silent is one of the most important rights given to every person who is placed under arrest. If you are placed under arrest, invoke this right as soon as possible to let law enforcement know that you will not answer their questions. Law enforcement officers should not attempt to question you if you have invoked your right to remain silent. Questioning someone who has stated their intention to remain silent is a violation of this right.
The right to an attorney
People who are arrested have the right to have an attorney by their side during questioning. Request an attorney immediately following your arrest. Once this request has been made, law enforcement officers cannot question you until your attorney is present. If they interrogate you before your attorney has arrived, this is a violation of your rights.
The right to an attorney is given to every person who is placed under arrest—not just those that can afford to hire an attorney. If you cannot afford to hire a lawyer on your own, the state must provide one for you. Therefore, it’s important to remember that law enforcement cannot force you to pay for an attorney if you are unable to do so.
The right to humane treatment
You should receive humane treatment while in custody regardless of the severity of the crime you are accused of committing. For example, this means law enforcement officers cannot use excessive force against you or deprive you of food or water while you are being arrested or in their custody. These are only two examples of inhumane treatment, so it’s important to talk to your attorney about your experience if you believe you were not treated humanely at any point in the process.
The right to make a phone call
You have the right to place one phone call shortly after you are arrested and booked at the local police station. If you use this phone call to communicate with your lawyer, law enforcement officers cannot listen to your conversation. However, they can listen if you choose to call anyone besides your attorney, so choose your words carefully. Anything you say on this phone call can be used against you in court.
The right to a hearing before a judge
Anyone who has been arrested has the right to know what crimes they are accused of committing as soon as possible. For this reason, people who are placed under arrest have the right to a hearing before a judge within 24 hours of their arrest. This hearing is known as the First Appearance or Advisory hearing, and it marks the first time that the defendant will appear in court. During this hearing, the judge will tell the defendant what criminal charges are being filed against him.
Let your attorney know if you believe that your rights have been violated during your arrest. Sometimes, a violation of your rights during your arrest could lead to a better outcome in your case.
Shiobhan Olivero was born and raised in Plant City. Her law office can be reached at (813) 534-0393 or by email at SOlivero@oliverolaw.com.