What happens when you are arrested or detained?
If you have been arrested or stopped by the police, you have the right to remain silent, but that doesn’t mean the police have to read you your rights immediately.
The police must advise you of your rights before they ask you QUESTIONS. This means that anything you say before the police question you can and will be used against you in court. This means that you should not say anything to the police at anytime, other than giving them identifying information.
This is a version of what the police will say to you:
An investigation has been conducted in which it is suspected that criminal activity has occurred. YOU ARE NOT UNDER ARREST, but before we ask you questions, you must understand your constitutional rights.
You have the right to remain silent
Anything you say can and will be used against you in court
You have the right to an attorney
If you cannot afford an attorney one will be provided for you.
You have the right not to answer questions without an attorney present.
If you chose to waive your rights, you have the right to stop talking to us at anytime.
You will be asked to answer the following questions by writing an answer next to the question and then signing.
1. Have you read or had read to you the warning as to your rights?
2. Do you understand these rights?
3. Do you wish to answer any questions?
4. Are you willing to answer any questions without having an attorney present?
Most people tend to answer “yes” to 1-4 above and then begin answering the police’s questions. Really, the only question that should be answered with a “yes” is the first one: you have been warned of your rights.
But do you really understand your rights? Have you read the case these rights are based on? Do you understand what the constitutional right to remain silent really means?
Most people believe they understand their rights, but they really don’t. It’s best to be careful and say you don’t understand, rather than saying you understand and then realizing when you speak with your lawyer that you don’t.
What should your waiver card/sheet look like after you have gone through it:
1. Have you read or had to you read the warning as to your rights? YES
2. Do you understand these rights? NO
3. Do you wish to answer any questions? NO
4. Are you willing to answer any questions without having an attorney present? NO
Then be respectful and go through the process. Don’t curse, don’t yell, don’t fight, don’t kick walls, or damage property.