Criminal Law - The
If you are arrested, you are taken into custody and you are not free to
leave the scene. Before being arrested, you can be detained, and held for
questioning for a short time if a police officer believes you may be involved
in a crime. For example, an officer may detain you if you are driving in
an erratic manner.
You may be arrested- even without an arrest warrant - if an officer has
probable cause or strong reason to believe you committed a serious crime
or felony, such as armed robbery. (A felony is defined as a crime of a
more serious nature than a misdemeanor, usually punishable by imprisonment
for more than a year.) The officer does not need to see you commit a felony
in order to arrest you. The officer needs to see you commit a misdemeanor
in order to arrest you.
If you are arrested or detained, you have the right not to answer any
questions. You should give your name and address and show some identification
Yor Legal Rights When Arrested
Whether you are arrested, you have certain rights. Before a police officer
questions you, he should "read you your rights." These well known
rights will be very important if you are arrested. They are:
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, mandated by The US Supreme
Court that derive from your rights under the U.S. Constitution. If the
officer fails to give these warnings, your lawyer may later seek to have
any statements you made to the police "suppressed," so that they
cannot be used against you in court. The failure of an officer to give
warnings does not usually mean that your case will be dismissed, but may
be used to remove certain statements from the evidence against you. Statements
will not be suppressed if you volunteer information without being questioned
by the police.
In practice failure to give warnings often means your word against the
officer, an officer may ask you to sign something or give you a consent
form. You should not sign anything or make statements to the police if
you are arrested for a serious crime.
The officers may question you, without a lawyer present, if you voluntarily
give up your rights and if you understand what you are giving up.
Be aware you are voluntarilry giving up rights by speaking to the police.
The police will not warn you again and will use pshylogical pressure and
all of their skills to elicit information from you.
You should ask for a lawyer and questioning must stop.
Even if you agree to the questioning, and then change your mind, the questioning
must stop as soon as you say that you want a lawyer. However, if the questioning
continues after you request a lawyer and you continue to speak, your answers
may be used against you if you later testify to something different.
You should be cooperative and respectful with the police during your arrest,
but you should not make any statements.
In some cases you may be asked to give certain physical evidence. Most
commonly if you are arrested for drunk driving you may be asked to to take
a breathalyzer or blood test to measure your blood alcohol content. (see our drunk driving page >>)
If you refuse to take the breathalyzer your driver's license will be suspended
but in Massachusetts the refusal cannot be used against you in court. The
police will not tell you the consequences or the legality of your refusal.
You should not take any tests. In more serious cases the police may later
seek and obtain blood, tissue samples, semen and other biological evidence.
Getting Legal Help
After you are booked, which means your arrest is written into official
police records you will be fingerprinted and photographed. You have a right
to make and complete a telephone call that is free within the local dialing
If you are arrested for a crime, you should contact an attorney as soon
as possible. The attorney is famailr with the process of an investigation
and will make sure law enforcement officers do not take advantage of you
or misinterpret or misunderstand your statements. The lawyer also can advise
you or your family or friends on the bail process, if bail is imposed.
Release without Bail
After your arrest, while in custody, the police are convinced that you
did not commit a crime, they will release you. Your arrest then will likely
be considered a detention and not recorded as an arrest.
Even if you are charged, instead of paying bail, you might be released
on your own recognizance because the magistrate or judge believes that
you will show up for court appearances without bail.
Submit your Criminal Defense Inquiry
case to Massachusetts-Attorney- Finder.com HERE>>