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What Rights Do I Have When I’ve Been Arrested?

Posted on September 12, 2016 in

Getting arrested is an experience nobody wants. An officer depriving you of your freedom and holding you accountable for a criminal offense is frightening and stressful, especially if you are unaware of your rights as a detainee. When a law enforcement officer places you in handcuffs and takes you into custody, it does not immediately strip you of your rights as an American citizen. Know your rights as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and Texas state statutes.

The Right to Remain Silent

One of the most commonly known rights during an arrest is the right to remain silent. This is the first line of the Miranda rights, or the warnings officers must provide suspects upon arrest. Based on the case Miranda v Arizona, a suspect’s Miranda rights let them know of certain pertinent facts. An officer does not necessarily have to read a suspect’s Miranda rights immediately upon arrest, but the rights must be given at some point before questioning the individual.

The “right to remain silent” refers to a suspect’s right to refuse to give information to the police. This right comes from the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution and protects citizens against self-incrimination. The police cannot legally force you to say anything. If police coerce or force you into speaking or giving evidence related to a crime, they have violated your rights. Your Miranda rights also state that anything you do or say can be used against you in a court of law. Police can use any statements you make upon arrest or during questioning against you in trial.

The Right to an Attorney

You have the right to an attorney after an arrest. When police place you under arrest, you can immediately request an attorney or you can call your existing attorney to be present for questioning. You are legally entitled to have an attorney present during questioning and counsel during a trial. Police cannot deny your request for a criminal attorney and cannot question you without your attorney present at a later time. This right also includes a right to a paid-for attorney by the state if you cannot afford one.

The Right to Know Your Crime

The government cannot hold you in jail for a long period of time without officially charging you with a crime. Depending on the state, this period of time may be 48 to 72 hours. You have the right to know what charges a prosecutor is bringing against you. You also have the right to communicate with someone by telephone soon after you are taken into custody. This phone call does not legally have to happen immediately upon entering the police station, but it must be soon after the police complete the booking procedure.

The Right to Humane Treatment

No matter your alleged crime, you have the right to humane treatment. Unfortunately, police cruelty and brutality happen frequently in our country. While by law police can employ “all reasonable and necessary” force to overcome a resisting suspect, they cannot treat a suspect inhumanely. For instance, if officers physically beat you during questioning or withheld food and water from you, this is a violation of your rights.

The United States legal system grants everyone the right to a fair trial, in which the law considers all people innocent until proven guilty. If law enforcement officials treat you as if you are already convicted of a crime before your trial, it is a violation of your rights. Regardless of how strong the evidence may be against you, as a criminal suspect awaiting trial, you have the right to treatment as an innocent individual.