Hopefully, you are reading this before you are arrested, as most of the steps are for you to do during your arrest and questioning.
Why Was I Arrested?
In Kansas, an officer can arrest someone if there is a warrant for the person to be arrested, if the officer has probable cause to believe that there is a warrant for the person to be arrested, or if the officer has probable cause to believe that the person is committing or has committed a felony or misdemeanor (though this does have some other requirements).
Of course, an officer can say they had probable cause for an arrest or search even when a reasonable person would not think as much. If you are in your home, police must have an arrest warrant to arrest you. If you are in a public place, like on the road or at a restaurant, an officer can arrest you solely based on probable cause.
But What Is Probable Cause?
Probable cause simply means that the arresting officer felt there was reason to believe you had committed a crime. Specifics are not required as the standard for probable cause is the officer’s subjective belief. In practice, this means that if the officer feels you are being rude to them, they can arrest you for probable cause.
During the Arrest.
It may feel like everything the officer is doing is illegal, but the most important thing is to remain alive. This means complying with the officer despite feeling like they are breaking the law.
What’s essential is to verbally state your constitutional rights (which will be explained below).
Ideally, you will be with other people who can corroborate your story, but the real world is not always ideal (if it were, you wouldn’t be getting arrested). If you are being arrested while you are alone, stay alive.
Please do whatever you need to do to stay alive; police are not your friends, and recent news articles have shown what they can and will do to anyone they disagree with. Remain calm, and if anyone is around, have them take a video of the arrest, as police body cameras are habitually “not working” during unlawful arrests.
Once you are arrested, you may be questioned or interrogated. During this, police will likely try to offer you water or food, or a cigarette. Please do not take any of them. This is a common way for police to access your DNA to test in their systems to see if they can pin any crimes on you.
They may request that you take a polygraph or a “lie-detector” test. You have no obligation to take these tests as they do not tell if you are lying to the police. They measure things like pulse, blood pressure, skin conductivity, and respiration rates, none indicative of lying.
Police will lie to you to make you think they have something they can charge you with, all to get a confession of some crime you did not commit.
Do not agree to anything!
What Are My Rights?
- You have the right against self-incrimination, which includes your right to remain silent, which is one of your 5th Amendment rights.
- You have the right against unreasonable search and seizure, your 4th Amendment right.
- You have the right to an attorney, a 6th Amendment right.
Now To The Nitty Gritty.
Anything you say to the police can and will be used against you in court.
You may know this as your Miranda Rights. You may not know that anything you voluntarily say before the Miranda Rights are spoken can also be used against you.
Miranda’s Rights are only required to be spoken if two conditions are met:
- You are under arrest or otherwise detained where a reasonable person would believe they were detained; and
- You must be interrogated.
Both of these need to happen before you are read your rights; anything you say before the rights are read can be used against you.
So, what does this mean?
It means when the police talk to you, ask, “Am I free to go?” if the answer is anything other than yes, then state, “I am invoking my right to an attorney and my right to remain silent,” and then you don’t say a word until your attorney is present. Police will frequently get evidence against you, even if you didn’t commit a crime, by simply talking to them like you would anyone else.
Police, despite what some people tell their children, are not your friends, and they will arrest you if you do anything they don’t like.
After You Have Been Arrested
Meet with your attorney to discuss what the next steps are. Will you choose to sue the police department for wrongful arrest? Are you being charged with anything, and if so, what?
Your life may seem scary, but your trust in the system has been further broken down. Know that you are not alone and that other people have had similar experiences.
The police are terrifying, which was made abundantly clear to you.
Seek a support group for people who have been wrongfully arrested. Regardless of your decision, the criminal defense attorneys at Hale Robinson & Robinson are here to help.
Reach out for a free consultation, and an attorney will happily meet with you to discuss the next steps.