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3 FAQs about getting arrested

An arrest is never a pleasant or easy experience. When police arrest you, your freedom, reputation and finances are on the line. No matter who you are, this is intimidating and scary.

How you handle yourself when the police question you and take you into custody may have a significant impact on your case. Here are answers to three common questions people have when arrested. 

1. Do the police need to have a warrant to arrest me?

Most of the time, law enforcement officials simply need probable cause of a crime to arrest someone. Probable cause is reasonable suspicion or good reason to suspect someone is guilty of a crime. An example of probable cause is a police officer seeing drugs in plain view. However, there are certain circumstances that require a cop to request an arrest warrant from a judge. This includes searching your home or vehicle. You do not need to give police permission to conduct a search of your residence or car.

2. What type of physical force can the police use when arresting me?

Law enforcement personnel can use reasonable force necessary to defend themselves or make an arrest. The exact amount of force allowed depends on the specific circumstances of each situation. For example, a police officer may need to use a different amount of force to detain a resisting suspect than with a compliant suspect. Using more force than necessary is illegal. If the police are too violent when arresting you, you may be able to sue them.

3. How do I assert my right to be silent?

It is a good idea to remain silent until you can get legal representation. You can invoke your constitutional and Supreme Court-ordered rights to be silent. Ironically, the best way to stand up for these rights is to say something. You can prevent the police from questioning you further by saying something along the lines of:

  • "I am claiming my Miranda rights."
  • "I do not want to speak with you until I get a lawyer."
  • "I refuse to talk to you."

This helps you from making incriminating statements.

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