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When you are arrested

Know Your Rights, Keep Quiet

If you are arrested or when you are arrested, it does not mean you have committed a crime. I know of many people who endured arrests, sometimes with massive publicity, and later were proven to be not guilty. This advice applies for those who are guilty of an offense and for those who are not guilty.

You will need

  • An attorney
  • Good advice
  • Friends and family who will write letters for you and help with routine matters
  • Maybe a detective who works for you

Keep quiet

Do not speak about the details of your charge with anyone but your attorney. If you have a family member or friend who will be arranging bail and who must be told certain things, do that, but do it quietly. Do not confide in fellow inmates in a jail. They might be informers or police undercover personnel.

Never agree to allow police to question you without an attorney. Do not fall for the "If you have nothing to hide you can talk with us..." line.

Never take a lie detector examination. There is no such thing as a "lie detector." That is a trick used by police or District Attorneys to question you. No person has ever been told he or she passed the lie detector and all charges were dropped. The police will always be willing to give you advice on how to be cooperative. The police will always give you bad advice.

If police personnel tell you it will go easier if you cooperate and answer some questions, tell them to put it in writing so you can show your attorney they tried to question you without an attorney present. Tell them to write down what it is you are doing that is "uncooperative." Ask them if it is their belief that you are supposed to give up your constitutional rights for some reason. Remind them what they say will be used in court against them.

For most people it is best not to say anything.

Call an attorney

If you do not have an attorney, call the Public Defender to start. You will get your own attorney later. If you have a trusted friend or family member call them and have them arrange an attorney visit.

Lie Detector

There is no "Lie Detector." There has never been a lie detector. That is a lie by the police to get you to agree to be questioned. What the defendant needs is a "Bulls**t Detector." It would go off the page each time an officer questions you, if you are a suspect.


Remember what is said to you. Remember who said it. Remember badge numbers. Remember any witnesses to your arrest. Remember what they said.

Do not believe Police officers

The police will lie to you. Sometimes they tell the truth but do not believe anything they say. If the police tell you your partner has confessed and implicated you in a crime it is probably not true. They have told your partner you have snitched on him or her. The police will lie to you. The District Attorney will lie against you, sometimes in court. The District Attorney's office might conceal evidence that will clear you.

It is best not to believe anyone but yourself. If you know for a fact something is true, believe that. Do not believe anything that appears in a newspaper or on a TV broadcast.

Judges count by fives

A judge is a person who does not mind sending someone into a prison for five or ten years for something the judge might do regularly. Judges wear suits. They sit up high and they seek a political appointment or office.

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Criminal Justice

Reason to arrest

Reasonable Belief

An officer can arrest someone if the officer has a reasonable belief that a crime has been committed and that the person whom he or she is apprehending committed that crime. The officer is allowed to use only that amount of force necessary to arrest the person. The officer has no license to punish anyone.


If a police officer has a reasonable belief a crime was committed, that is often enough justification to conduct a search. An example might be if a gunshot is heard coming from a house and someone is heard screaming inside. If, however, a policeman decides to search your home because he thinks you are a cross dresser, then that would be very illegal.

Do not try fighting a policeman who wants to arrest or search you. They carry guns.


Listen to your attorney but... I would not be quick to accept a "deal." The District Attorney is interested in his conviction rate. He/she wants to be able to claim 90% convictions. Your best bet is to be in the ten percent of non convictions. It will be even better if you can turn around after the trial and sue the state or county for what happened.

A deal usually means the District Attorney will drop many of the charges against you to get you to plead guilty to one or more. The Public Defender is very busy and he or she will tell you it is a good deal. The deal sucks, of course. You would have a conviction. You would never be able to appeal it.

Changing Attorneys

It might be better for your courtroom outcome if you have a pivate attorney instead of a Public Defender. If you are unable to afford a private attorney, try asking the court to appoint a private attorney for you. Your Public Defender will probably gladly help. One reason for a court appointed attorney is if any of the other people involved in the case is now using, or has in the past used, council from the Public Defender's office. An example would be if one of the victims has a Public Defender now or was represented by a Public Defender in the past. That would then become Conflict of Interest. Ask your attorney or Public Defender about that.