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What you need to know about arrests and talking to police

On Behalf of | Jun 20, 2019 | Criminal Law

There seems to be a lot of confusion regarding what happens when an individual suspected of a crime has contact with police. For instance, you may know you have rights, but aren’t sure when they apply.

You may know that police must follow certain rules and laws when it comes to arrests and interrogations, but you don’t know what they are or when they apply. Knowing is half the battle, so keep reading for some basic information that could help you one day.

What happens before and during an arrest?

In order to arrest you, police must have a reasonable belief, or probable cause, that you committed a crime. Not every arrest requires a warrant, but when the situation calls for one, it must contain certain information, including the basis for probable cause, before a judge will sign off on the arrest warrant. When an arrest does take place, officers must provide you with the Miranda warning letting you know the following: 

  • You don’t have to answer any questions.
  • You can talk to a lawyer.
  • If you can’t afford a lawyer, the court will appoint one for you.
  • You can stop answering questions at any time.

You may already know this from movies and television, but what you may not know is that you do not have to wait for the arrest and the warning to exercise your rights. Other than basic questions regarding your identification, you can invoke your rights at any point, and you probably should.

Police must follow rules during an interrogation

If you do decide not to answer any questions, invoke your right to remain silent and ask for an attorney, all questioning must stop immediately. Invoking your rights applies to all officers, not just the one questioning you when you decided to stop talking. Police cannot send in another officer to continue asking you questions. In addition, police may not use the following tactics during an interrogation:

  • Police cannot use psychological coercion or physical violence to get you to answer questions.
  • Officers may not torture you.
  • An investigator cannot drug you in order to get you to talk.
  • Police cannot treat you inhumanely or threaten you during an interrogation. 

However, you need to know that police may do other things without violating the law or your rights in an attempt to get a confession out of you. Officers can lie to you, trick you and use other methods that do not involve coercion. Police can also collect bodily evidence from you without violating your Fifth Amendment rights. You should know this includes taking blood samples.

You may feel compelled to explain yourself, but anything you say could end up as evidence against you in court. It’s a natural reaction to being accused of wrongdoing, but you should resist the urge. Your best course of action when encountering Indiana police is to politely decline to answer any questions, tell the officer or officers that you are invoking your right to remain silent and ask for an attorney.