What Are Your Rights During Arrest and Questioning?

A man wearing a suit is sitting in the driver's seat of a car. He is being questioned by a police officer.

It can be hard to know what to do when you get arrested, especially while panicked and confused. The most important thing that everyone should understand is that there are legal rights they have that protect them during an arrest. But what are these rights, and how are they useful? Let’s review your rights when arrested and what you should and shouldn’t do when detained by police.

Your Rights During Police Questioning

Before discussing your rights when arrested, know that you have legal power before police even apprehend you. Police officers have the right to approach you and ask for forms of identification, such as your driver’s license. However, you are not obligated to answer any of their other questions, such as where you came from or where you’re traveling to.

In the event you aren’t being arrested, you have the right to leave the police during their inquiry. However, this isn’t the case if the officers have a reason to believe you engaged in an unlawful activity or have a warrant for your arrest.

Your Rights When Arrested

If police are arresting you, then don’t flee or resist arrest. Injuring the officer in any way can incur an aggravated assault charge. During this time, you do have the right to know you’re under arrest and for what reason. After asking the police these questions, they have to give you a response.

While you’re being arrested, the police must inform you of your Miranda Rights. Originating in the monumental Miranda v. Arizona case of the late 1960s, the Miranda Rights state that police cannot question individuals until they are aware of specific rights. This supreme court decision was designed to protect people regardless of whether they are innocent or guilty.

The Miranda Rights exist to remind individuals of their rights against self-incrimination and to legal counsel, which are the Fifth and Sixth amendments, respectively. These rights include:

  • The right to remain silent is the most well-known Miranda Right, which you’ve likely heard in movies or other media. An officer has to stop questioning arrested individuals who exercise this right. However, police are still permitted to ask for a name and address.
  • You also have the right to an attorney. A legal professional is best suited to assist you during interrogations. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for an affordable fee or for free by the court system.

One of the many reasons why Miranda Rights are important is because they protect you from police interrogations. Officers try to get information from the people they arrest so it can be used against them as testimony in court.

Your Rights When Questioned at the Station

After the officer brings you to their station, they are allowed to get general information. This includes fingerprints, photographs, and other details pertaining to your identity. They’ll also see if there are any warrants for your arrest and check your health to determine if medical attention is required. Once you’ve been processed, you’ll be allowed to make a phone call. Further, you should receive a notice of your court appearance within 24 hours of the arrest.

While you’re detained at the station, the police may continue to ask you questions in an attempt to get more information. As before, any statements can be used in their favor during trial. Say as little as possible to avoid self-incrimination.

If you require the services of a professional criminal defense lawyer in NJ, call the Shugar Law Office. Our firm specializes in a variety of cases, including those involving drug possession. Contact us today for a consultation.

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