Mackesys - Ten Things NOT To Do If Arrested.
I have been practicing criminal law for over 30 years and have seen a wide variety of
reactions by people who are being arrested. Some of these reactions are unwise but
understandable. Others are self defeating to the point of being bizarre. No one plans to be
arrested, but it might help to think just once about what you will do and not do if you ever
hear the phrase “You're under arrest. Put your hands behind you.” The simplest “to do” rule
is to do what you are told. Simple, but somehow it often escapes someone who is either
scared or intoxicated. More important to guarding your rights and interests are ten things you
SHOULD NOT do:
1. Don’t try to convince the officer of your innocence. It’s useless. He or she only needs
“reasonable grounds” to suspect you have committed a crime in order to arrest you. He does
not decide your guilt and he actually doesn’t care if you are innocent or not. It is the job of
the judge or jury to free you if he is wrong. If you feel that urge to convince him he’s made a
mistake, remember the overwhelming probability that instead you will say at least one thing
that will hurt your case, perhaps even fatally. It is smarter to save your defence for your
2. Don’t run. It’s highly unlikely you could out run the police. I have had cases where a
passenger being driven home by a drunk friend bolted and ran. Why? It was the driver they
wanted. Most police will just arrest a runner, but there are some who will be mad they had to
work so hard and injure the suspect unnecessarily.
3. KEEP QUIET!!!. My hardest cases to defend are those where the suspect got very
talkative. Incredibly, many will start babbling without the police having asked a single
question. My most vivid memory of this problem was the armed robbery suspect who blurted
to police: “How could the guy identify me? The robbers were wearing masks.” To which the
police smiled and responded, “Oh? Were they?” Judges and juries will discount or ignore
what a suspect says that helps him, but give great weight to anything that seems to hurt him.
In 30 years of criminal practice, I could count on one hand the number of times a suspect was
released because of what he told the police after they arrested him.
4. Don’t give permission to search anywhere. If they ask, it probably means they don’t
believe they have the right to search and need your consent. The police have limited powers
of search without the permission of a senior officer. This is also a good reason not to talk,
even if it seems all is lost when they find something incriminating.
5. If the police are searching your car or home, don’t look at the places you wish they
wouldn’t search. Don’t react to the search at all, and especially not to questions like “Who
does this belong to?”
6. DON'T RESIST ARREST. Above all, do not push the police or try to push their hands
away. That would be assaulting an officer and any slight injury to them will turn your minor
offence into something more serious. Obviously, striking an officer can result in serious
injury to you as well.
7. Try to resist the temptation to mouth off at the police, even if you have been wrongly
arrested. Police have a lot of discretion in what charges are brought. On the other hand, I have
seen a client who was friendly to the police and talked sports and such on the way to the
station. They gave him a break. Notice he did not talk about his case, however.
8. Do not believe what the police tell you in order to get you to talk. The police will try
anything to get you to 'talk'. They will try and mislead and say things they can't necessarily
proof in order to get an admission. For example, if you are arrested with someone else for the
same offence, they will try and suggest the other person has implicated you inorder for you to
admit as well.
The police will also try and convince you to go ahead with the interview in the absence of
your lawyer as it will delay your release, or 'it will go easier for you in court' if you
'talk'. ALWAYS EXERCISE YOUR RIGHT TO A LAWYER.
9. If at home, do not invite the police into your home as this gives them the power to search.
If the police have a warrant, do not obstruct them. If an offence has recently been committed
and the police have reasonable grounds to suspect you are involved, they can arrest you and
search your home or the parts of the home you occupy if in shared accomodation.
10. If you are arrested outside your home, the police have powers of search at your home
address in contunuance of their investigation..
That’s it: Ten simple rules that will leave as many of your rights intact as possible if you are
How about a short test? You have a fight with your live-in girlfriend and the police come and
find you on the sidewalk two houses down from the apartment. The girlfriend points you out
and the police arrest you for assault. They tell you they don’t intend to question you. They
just want your name and address. Do you answer? Well, you shouldn’t. Your address is the
single most damaging admission you could make. If you admit living with her, you give
some corroboration to what she has said. When you are arrested it is their game, and you
don’t know the rules. It is best to be silent and let the lawyer handle it later. The bottom line
is that if the police have enough evidence to arrest, they will. If they don’t have that evidence,
you could easily provide it by talking.
YOU CAN CONTACT MACKESYSCRIME 24 HOURS A DAY, 365 DAYS A YEAR.