Your actions after an arrest will decide your freedom. Whatever it is that has gotten you in trouble, do not bury yourself in more trouble.

The police will be your first encounter and they also have the say on how the arrest procedure goes – slow or fast – so don’t offend them; be nice even if they are not!

It is always a good idea to stay calm, think, be polite and behave when confronted by authorities because fighting back or being disrespectful will get you in more trouble. This could be difficult at times, especially if you’re arrested in a rally or street fight, however, it is best to act professionally. Police highly value the respect given to their profession.

Behaving properly and knowing your rights are important. Authorities may sometimes get irked when you know your rights, however, there is always a nice way to tell them about it.

green bail sign

> You have the right to remain silent as mandated by the Fifth Amendment. You have the right to refuse to answer the police’s questions and politely say you are invoking your right to remain silent. Say this outright and not just stay silent. You may, however, need to provide them your name, address and other information needed for the booking form. If you do not disclose your name, this could delay your freedom. They could opt to just write a “John Doe” or “Jane Doe” on the booking form but they will eventually identify you anyway so why delay it and risk sleeping in jail?

> As much as possible, do not consent to a search. If you’ve been involved in a vehicular accident and remembered that a few beer bottles you bought a week ago are still in your car, this could be used as evidence against you even if you have not been drinking before the incident. Politely tell them that you are not giving your permission for them to search your car.

> Do not confess anything. The police could lie to you! Yes, this could happen especially if they are hard-pressed to solve the case as soon as possible. Do not be lured to talk if they tell you they could help reduce your sentence or could make things better for you if you confess because any statement you say can be used against you. Only the court can decide on your sentence.

> Politely ask for a lawyer. Once you tell them you want to remain silent, they should stop bothering you afterwards. You can tell them you are willing to talk but a lawyer needs to be present. It is always best to ask for your lawyer.

> Ask them to allow you to call a lawyer or family member. The police might have become busy throughout your booking process and might have forgotten you’re still in their custody so be on your guard. Politely ask them for your need to call your lawyer or family member, particularly a responsible adult who could post a bail if necessary.

> Be observant and do your best to remember the things that happened during the arrest. First and foremost, the police should have read you your rights, otherwise known as the “Miranda rights” – that you have the right to remain silent, and so on. If you feel that the police might have violated your rights in any way, tell your lawyer about it.

> Do not pretend you have a sickness or need medical attention. If you do need some medication, tell the family member you’ll be calling to bring it to you. If you tell the police, this could further delay your freedom because they may need to bring you to the hospital.