Many factors contribute to the outcome of a criminal case. An example of a coupld of factors are having a good criminal defense lawyer and whether you have a prior criminal record. One factor that people do not think about is what they do during the arrest. This poses the question (What can I do at arrest to impact the outcome of my case?).
During the Arrest, your demeanor and responses matter
The short answer to the question (can what I do at arrest to impact the outcome of my case?) is that it depends. There are things that you can do that can make being arrested easier on you, and there are things that you can do that can make it more difficult for your criminal defense attorney to get a good outcome at Court:
- Rudeness or Defiance During an Arrest: While being rude or defiant to the cop during your arrest might not be directly related to your criminal charge, it can make you look bad to a Jury or Judge if the arrest is recorded on video. Increasingly, law enforcement uses cameras, either mounted on the cruiser or on the officer’s body. Generally, the District Attorney’s Office, the Court or a Jury does not appreciate disrespect for law enforcement.
- Severity of the Conduct During Arrest: Whether your demeanor during an arrest makes a difference depends on how serious that conduct is. If your conduct during arrest is actually an additional criminal charge, then you could be facing two criminal counts instead of one. For example, being charged with, Obstructing Government Administration, Refusal to Submit to Arrest or Failure to give Correct Name, Address, or Date of Birth on top of an OUI charge. Moreover, committing additional crimes during your arrest can be interpreted by the District Attorney’s Office as being unwilling to follow directions. This makes my job as a criminal defense lawyer more challenging.
- Making Admissions that Escalate an Arrest: In addition to how you act towards the officer, the things you say in front of the officer, even if they might be said in a moment of frustration, can affect whether more serious charges could arise. For example, if the officer asks if you have anything in your car, and you sarcastically tell the officer to go see for himself, you might end up with a far more painful experience than you had anticipated. If the car is searched, anything that they find can be used against you and you just consented to it by inviting the officer to see for himself. Being charged with more serious offenses can impact what the outcome looks like at Court.
At the Arrest to impact the outcome positively
To get the best possible outcome at Court, here are some tips:
- Remain silent during the arrest and detention after you give your identifying information. If you enforce your right to remain silent you avoid making admissions that can be used against you. I suggest that if the officer asks you any questions about the crime, or your involvement in it, you respond by saying “Officer, I understand that I have a right to remain silent. I would like to enforce that right.” and then politely decline to answer any questions.
- Keep your eyes and ears open. When you are not arguing with law enforcement, you can take notice of what is happening around you. Watch what the officer does as much as you are being watched during an arrest, but do not interfere with the investigation.
- Hire a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible after being released from custody. Having a lawyer on your side as early as possible in the case is one definite way that you can help the outcome of your criminal case.
If you have questions about your specific situation, we encourage you to contact The Nielsen Group for a free legal consultation. If you found this FAQ answer helpful, you might also appreciate the following: