You've been arrested, now what?
Something awful happened, you made a mistake. Maybe there is an explanation, maybe lots of mitigating factors in your favor. It’s probably the first time anything like this has ever happened to you. In this circumstance a lot of people have the inclination to start explaining all this to the officer that arrested them or the prosecutor who will be prosecuting them. Very often, that is not helpful and sometimes can make things worse.
Criminal charges are based on evidence. If the police have enough evidence to convict you chances are they will. Often times, the strongest evidence a prosecutor has is the defendant’s own statements or admissions. The more a defendant says to try and “explain” usually the better the police department’s case is.
Our criminal justice system is adversarial. It’s the police prosecuting a defendant. The police may be sympathetic to you and even seem nice: like they want to help you. However, no matter how nice they may seem their job is to arrest, charge and convict you.
Making your statements, confessions, and explanations to an experienced lawyer like me who can guide you through the process is a much more successful path to take. You can always give more information to the police after careful consideration and with competent legal advice as to what do to. But, you can’t take back statements you have already made to the police.
So, exercise your right to remain silent. Politely and respectfully decline to answer questions other than booking questions related to your identity (Name, address, phone number, date of birth.) Then call me and make an appointment for a free consultation.
Typically, you will leave the police station with a bail slip indicating you have been release on your trust (usually called “personal recognizance”) and giving you an arraignment date. The arraignment date is a preliminary hearing where where you enter an initial plea of guilty or not guilty. If you may want to pursue a trial-or just aren’t sure what the right decision is- you must plead not guilty at arraignment. There is no penalty for pleading not guilty. Schedule an appointment for personal legal advice before your arraignment. (If you can’t do that due to timing or schedules, simply plead not guilty and contact me afterwards.)
Just like statements to the police, if you plead guilty there is not taking it back. Be sure you know all the consequences before you make any statements or do anything that could affect things like your driver’s license, insurance premiums, backgrounds checks, federal financial aid eligibility, scholarships, colleges student status, housing, employment, etc.
I have over 20 years’ experience representing UNH and college age defendants as well as a diverse practice in criminal defense including felonies, misdemeanors, and juveniles offense. Call, text, or email me for your free consultation.