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What are my rights during an arrest? (PART 2)

In our last post we started a discussion on an individual's rights as they relate to an arrest. For most individuals, facing an arrest can be terrifying. The stress of the process can make some individuals lash out at police officers, which is not recommended. On the other end of the spectrum, some individuals may try to be overly friendly and say a lot more than they should due to nervousness.

If you can take a step back from your emotions, it can help you think more clearly. It's wise to remember that you have very specific rights when facing an arrest. Once a police officer has taken you into custody, he or she must read you your Miranda rights before he or she starts questioning you. If you watch any crime shows, the Miranda rights may be very familiar to you. You have the right to stay silent, the right to an attorney and the right to have that attorney present before they question you. You also must be told that anything you say can and will be used against you in court. If an officer fails to explain these rights, remember that detail and tell your attorney immediately.

Remember, although you may have the urge to explain yourself, you do not have to say anything to the officers until your attorney is present no matter how much they push.

Finally, if you are arrested, the officer can search your person and any property incident to the arrest. The same is not true if you are just given a traffic citation. In that case, you have the right to refuse consent to search your property, although an officer may not tell you that and is not obligated to do so. Keep in mind that in some specific situations where "a substantial threat of imminent danger to life or public safety" is present, an officer may execute a search without a warrant.

These laws can be very confusing to someone who has never had to deal with law enforcement. In order to protect your rights through the whole process, being respectful, knowing your basic rights and speaking with an attorney can be extremely helpful.

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