What to Do If You Get Arrested in Arizona
Getting arrested can be extremely confusing and stressful. Knowing what happens, what to do, and what rights you have is crucial. Doing or saying the wrong thing can severely impact your case. To help you protect your rights and ensure a fair legal process, we put together this guide on the steps you should take if you get arrested in Arizona.
What to Do (and Not to Do) If You Get Arrested in Arizona
If you get arrested, it means that a police officer has taken you into custody and you are not free to leave. Usually they will take you to the nearest police station, where you will be searched, photographed, fingerprinted, and questioned. The way you behave during an arrest can have a huge impact on the outcome of your case, so here’s what you should and should not do.
1: Do Remain Calm
Whether or not you believe you did anything wrong, it is crucial that you remain calm and cooperative during an arrest. Resisting arrest—especially if you get violent—only escalates the situation, and will most likely lead to additional charges. For instance, resisting arrest can be a class 1 misdemeanor if you passively resist or a class 6 felony if you use physical force against, threaten, or injure a police officer.
2: Do Invoke Your Miranda Rights
Despite what you see on TV, police officers are not required to read you your Miranda rights before making an arrest. It is only required when you are both in custody and under interrogation.
It’s essential that you understand your Miranda rights ahead of time so you know when to invoke them and properly protect yourself. According to the U.S constitution, Miranda rights include the following warnings:
- You have the right to remain silent
- Anything you say may be used against you in court
- You have the right to have an attorney present while you are being questioned
- If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you
It’s a good idea to invoke your constitutional right to remain silent as soon as a police officer approaches you. Do not try to explain your side of the story. Politely inform the officer that you wish to remain silent and will not answer any questions until your attorney is present.
If you are not in custody, an officer can start asking you questions without reading you your Miranda rights. Anything you say in response is admissible in court, with no chance of being able to have your statements suppressed. This is why it’s so crucial to invoke the right to remain silent as early as possible.
If you are in custody, but an officer does not read you your rights before questioning you, then you can request that the court suppress the statements you made. However, having your statements suppressed does not automatically dismiss your case.
3: Do Contact an Experienced Attorney
Another important right to invoke is your right to an attorney. You should ask to contact your attorney as soon as you are arrested. Once you request your attorney, the police officers should stop asking you any questions until the attorney is present.
An experienced lawyer like the attorneys at Van Norman Law will know exactly what you should and should not say while being questioned to avoid incriminating yourself. Your attorney can also help your family or friends understand how to post bail.
4: Do Not Consent to Any Searches
In Arizona, a police officer does not have the right to search your vehicle, home, phone, or other property without your consent unless they have a search warrant. If an officer asks if they can search your property, it’s best to politely refuse.
But if an officer conducts a search without your consent anyway, you should not intervene. Trying to physically resist an unconstitutional search could actually hurt your case—stay calm and remember that you will be able to use the fact that your rights were violated to help your case.
5: Document the Arrest
It’s always a good idea to document important details about your arrest, including:
- The names and badge numbers of the arresting officers
- Where the arrest took place
- Whether any witnesses were present
- When you were read your rights
- Whether a search was conducted (and if you consented)
This information will be invaluable in building a strong defense for your case, and addressing any violations of your rights.
Criminal Defense Attorney in Scottsdale
It’s always best to consult a knowledgeable attorney before making any statements to a police officer. If you ever get arrested in Arizona, call the Van Norman Law team. We’ll help you protect your rights and fight for the best possible outcome for your case.
If you think you may be a suspect in a crime and need legal advice, call us at 480-481-0616 to schedule a free consultation.