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What to say or not say if you are arrested

Almost everyone knows about the constitutional right to remain silent when arrested, so many Connecticut residents will decide not to stay anything to the police until they have contacted legal counsel. However, some people may not exercise this right, or they might become flustered when a police officer pulls them over. It is crucial to keep in mind what to say and what not to say to a police officer to avoid potential problems.

During the initial contact with a police officer, Findlaw advises that you do not give permission to an officer to search your vehicle. The moment you tell an officer, “Yes, you can search my car,” that official now has latitude to look inside and use your possessions as evidence in a criminal case. If the officer does not have a warrant, reasonable suspicion or probable cause, your vehicle cannot be searched unless you provide consent.

Also, do not admit guilt, thinking you can smooth things over with the officer and you will be let go. It is the duty of law enforcement to prove you committed a crime. Admitting to it outside of a plea bargain will not help and may make things worse. A confession can also provide an officer with probable cause to further search your property.

Should the officers go ahead with an arrest, a piece in the Atlantic also advises you to act politely and professionally to the officers. Refrain from profanity and keep your voice measured. Some police may act rudely, but most law enforcement officials are professional and want to be treated with respect. If you are not being difficult, they have no incentive to be difficult in return.

Even if you exercise your right to remain silent, you should still answer questions the police require for a booking form. These include your name, your home address and maybe an identification number like a Social Security number. Also be prepared to show your picture ID if you have it. Refraining from answering these questions will do you no good. The police will get your identity from your fingerprints, and you will have just prolonged your time in jail.

But what if the arrest triggers a panic attack? It is important to try and remain calm. The police will respond to your medical needs by bringing you to a hospital, but that will not cut short your time in jail. In fact, it will prolong it. Receiving medical care is not an excuse for not being booked and held at the police station. If you can, hold off on asking for medicine until you reach the police station and then ask a friend or family member to bring medicine to you.

FindLaw Network