When you understand your legal rights, you ensure that your interactions with police officers and the court system go as smoothly as possible. As an American citizen governed by the US Constitution, you have your own set of responsibilities and rights when arrested.
Detainments and arrests can make anyone anxious. Once you better understand the process, you know the steps that lie ahead and can conduct yourself accordingly.
If you need a criminal defense lawyer in New Jersey, call us for a free consultation at (908) 561-5577. At Aiello Harris, we have the experience you need to navigate your charges. Continue reading to learn more about your rights when arrested in New Jersey.
Your Rights Before Your Arrest
Often, the police will question you briefly before placing you under arrest.
If a police officer approaches you for any reason, stay calm. Keep your hands visible during the interaction. This shows that you will not reach for a weapon or attempt to cause harm. When you conduct yourself this way, you help ensure that the interaction doesn’t escalate.
A police officer may question you or ask for identification. You may decline to answer all questions. However, you should identify yourself to the officer. You have the right to ask whether or not you are being detained or arrested. If the officer says no, you can leave.
Before a law enforcement officer can arrest you, they must state that you are under arrest. In this situation, they typically have an arrest warrant or reasonable suspicion that allows them to do so.
Your Rights During Your Arrest
Once an officer officially states your arrest, your responsibility, rights, and the way you conduct yourself shift.
Do not physically thwart, run from, or otherwise resist arrest. If you do so, you may incur new charges in addition to the current ones. Some charges related to resisting arrest include obstruction of administration of law and even assault if an officer sustains any injuries.
New Jersey law states that even simple assault charges be raised to aggravated assault when it comes to police officers. Instead, continue to remain calm, stay silent, and cooperate with the officer’s requests.
Your Rights After Your Arrest
After a police officer arrests you, the law requires that they read your Miranda Rights. Your Miranda Rights provide you the opportunity to avoid self-incrimination. They state that:
- You have the right to remain silent. Once in police custody, an officer will ask questions to gather evidence. State that you wish to exercise your right to remain silent, and the officer must refrain from questioning you further.
- You have the right to legal counsel. After stating you will stay silent, ask for a lawyer. Avoid signing any documents or speaking further. During the interrogation process, you need sound legal advice and guidance.
Even if you can’t afford a lawyer, you have the right to access legal counsel for free or within your financial means. In this case, the legal system appoints a public defender to represent you.
Your Rights During Your Time at the Police Station
Your arresting officers will transport you to a detainment facility such as a county jail. During your time there, continue exercising your right to remain silent. Officers will attempt to interrogate or question you further. Unless you have a criminal defense attorney present, do not answer their questions.
After 24 hours, the police officers will typically release you or deliver a court notice and a charge. During your detainment, you can have one phone call. You may use this call to either contact an attorney or sort out your bail if applicable.
Other Rights You Should Know
Police officers can try to further interrogate you after they complete your arrest and transport you. In this event, they must remind you of your Miranda Rights again. At all times, you have the right to remain silent.
If officers don’t recite your Miranda Rights in applicable situations, they cannot use any of the statements you made against you later. You can also use the information about rights when arrested when you need advice on how to help an arrested loved one.
Use Your Right to an Attorney
The first step to managing any criminal charges brought against you includes knowing your rights when arrested. You should then contact a criminal defense attorney in New Jersey to learn more about your options and rights. Call Aiello Harris at (908) 561-5577 for a free attorney consultation.