The lights are flashing in your eyes, your heart is pounding and you hear the dreaded words, “You’re under arrest.” This isn’t a movie or YouTube prank.
You are about to spend hours or days in jail.
Do you know what to do? Do you know what NOT to do? Stay calm and confident while being detained with some simple reminders about how to act in custody.
Read on for our Do’s and Don’ts for when you’re under arrest.
Do: Be polite, respectful, and professional.
Be respectful with the officers, even if they’re being particularly rude to you. That means staying cooperative, speaking in an unemotional and unexcited tone, breaking out the “sirs” and “ma’ams”, and not swearing. You’re all just professionals trying to get through the day.
Like you, police officers are concerned very much with their respect and how they’re treated.
Don’t: Be rude, belligerent, or combative. Absolutely do not resist, even if you feel they are being unfair. Resistance is a crime itself and can get you into more trouble.
Police officers are people too, if you start in with what is perceived as attitude, you can count on it coming back.
Silence is Golden
Do: Answer processing questions as necessary.
Professionals need the basics to process you and send you along your way. Give your name, address and your social security number when asked. Show your ID if you have it.
Refusing to answer the basic booking form questions will just delay your processing until the officer can use fingerprints or some other intrusive form of identification.
Don’t: Say anything you don’t have to.
That includes answering direct questions, other than the booking information. No explanations, no excuses, just calmly state “I want my attorney present before questioning.”
Police officers may get angry, lie, and record anything you say. Politely ask for your lawyer, repeatedly, if necessary. If you are under arrest, you have that right.
Be Honest About Your Health
Do: Know your medical needs and have a medical ID bracelet or card on your person.
Being in jail is already one of the most mentally and physically stressful acts you can go through. If you require medical attention, the police are obligated to provide care via the hospital or other medical personnel. This can delay your processing an extra day or more.
Don’t: Lie about or exaggerate your medical needs.
The system is overcrowded and your less urgent needs may take away necessary care from other people.
Be Prepared to be Under Arrest
Do: Carry your ID, wear a medical ID if necessary, carry a piece of paper with important phone numbers and memorize at least one emergency number.
Being arrested is never on anyone’s list of accomplishments, but there’s nothing wrong with being prepared. Know your rights, prepare and carry a list of professionals to contact and remember to stay calm throughout.
Spending time in jail is one of the most stressful experiences a person can have. Proper behavior can ensure your processing time is the minimum necessary. Questions or comments about this article? Contact us!