Tag Archives: right to remain silent

What to Do if You Are ArrestedWhile few people ever plan for their arrest, it is still important to know what to do if you are arrested by law enforcement. What you do during and after an arrest can have a huge impact on your case. Even answering questions that, at first, may seem benign may end up causing problems for you later. Most importantly, those under arrest should remember to contact a skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

Being Questioned

Aside from being arrested, you may also be stopped and questioned by police. It is crucial that you stay calm and do not argue or resist and make sure to keep your hands where the police can see them. If you are stopped in public in Illinois you are not required to give the police your name, but giving a false name is against the law. Being stopped for questioning is not the same as being arrested. You can always ask if you are free to leave, and, if you are, you can walk away. You also do not have to consent to be searched if you are asked. Ultimately, the safest answer is always asking to speak to an attorney, even if you just are being questioned.

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Why You Should Exercise Your Right to Remain SilentNearly everyone who has watched Law & Order or Criminal Minds knows about the Miranda warning that the cops give to a person as they are making an arrest. A well-known part of that warning is your right to remain silent. This right stems from the 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. When a police officer questions you about a crime or accuses you of committing a crime, you have the right to avoid incriminating yourself; in other words, you do not have to say anything. In fact, you always should remain silent in this type of situation, at least until you have received legal advice from an experienced Illinois criminal defense attorney. Anything that you do say can be used against you in court proceedings.

What if I Am Innocent?

If you didn’t commit or weren’t involved in the crime for which police arrested you, you still should ask to contact your attorney. All too often, innocent people try to answer questions or proclaim their innocence when confronted by police. In many cases, however, this strategy can backfire, in that you may inadvertently say something that the police interpret as guilt of or complicity in a crime. To avoid this problem, you should consult your attorney before saying anything. Contacting an attorney doesn’t make you look guilty and can help you in the long run. While the criminal justice system is set up to be fair to individuals who are accused of crimes, people make mistakes, and, as a result, individuals have been convicted of and sentenced for crimes that they did not commit.

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