More than 10 million people are arrested in the United States each year. The crimes these individuals commit to get arrested vary from petty theft to homicide. But, the experience of actually being detained is nearly the same in the beginning. Unless you have been arrested before, you are likely unfamiliar with how the process unfolds.
Throughout the years, a number of misconceptions about being arrested have formed. These misconceptions can put you at a disadvantage if you are ever detained by a police officer. Below are some common misconceptions about getting arrested and the truth behind them.
Misconception #1 – Only Serious Offenses Lead to Arrests
It is a common misconception that only people who commit serious crimes such as robbery or assault are arrested. While a number of people are arrested for serious offenses each year, there are also many lower-level offenses that can result to a person being detained. For instance, if you are arrested for lewd or dissolute conduct in the city of Los Angeles, you will likely be charged with a misdemeanor.
Generally, lewd or dissolute conduct is legal terminology for being caught having sex in public. You can also be arrested for other offenses like drinking in public or harassment. The best way to avoid being on the wrong side of the law is by obeying all laws, regardless of how insignificant they may seem.
Misconception #2 – You Must Answer Questions from Police
One of the first things a lawyer will tell a new client about being arrested is to limit the information they give to the police. There is a misconception that a person being questioned by a police officer is required to answer. This is not true, especially if the information a person provides a police officer can incriminate them in future investigations.
If you have committed a crime and are caught by the police, it is in your best interest to remain silent. You should only answer questions from members of law enforcement when your lawyer is present. The more information you divulge to police officers, the harder it may be to beat the charges against you in the future.
Misconception #3 – You Don’t Need a Lawyer
Most people have limited knowledge of the laws in their state. This limited knowledge could lead to incarceration and other consequences, if you try to navigate the legal system on your own. Dealing with the aftermath of being arrested can be both stressful and complicated and making mistakes during this stressful time can lead to the charges against you getting worse if you say or do something wrong.
This is why you should contact a lawyer as soon as you can following your arrest. Find a lawyer that has experience handling the type of charges you are facing. If at all possible, you should try and get friends and family members to research the different criminal lawyers in your area.
The information from this research can help you hire the right legal representation to help you either beat or reduce the charges in question.
Start Your Search for a Lawyer
If you are facing minor or serious criminal charges, you should hire an attorney immediately to help you with the lengthy legal process ahead of you. If you are able to, try and meet with several attorneys before choosing you will represent you. These initial consultations are a great way to assess which lawyer in your area is the best fit for your case.