Dealing with the Police
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Santa Cruz Dealing with the Police Lawyer

I Have been Arrested in Santa Cruz. What Should I do?

Santa Cruz Dealing with the Police Lawyer

Santa Cruz Criminal Defense Attorney John W. Thornton has decades of experience in Santa Cruz County. He knows that dealing with the police can be an extremely stressful and frightening experience. This is especially true if they do not have an experienced defense attorney protecting their rights. Every day, people throughout Santa Cruz who are arrested react in the wrong way and disrupt their chances of avoiding jail. There are a few simple guidelines that everyone arrested for any charge should follow to help their case. From DUI to homicide, the following is good advice for anyone who has been arrested for any charge:

  • Do not speak to the police without legal counsel present. When dealing with the police, you have a right to remain silent, and that means you do not have to answer any questions at all. You may think that you can talk your way out of trouble, but you may accidentally reveal something that the police will use against you. Often, attorneys see clients who have spoken to the police without representation who have significantly damaged their chances in court. Unless you are experienced with our criminal justice system, you probably do not know the ins and outs of the law, and might admit to something that is illegal - even though you don't realize it. You could say something that the police officer will misinterpret as a confession. The officer could write down what you said incorrectly. In that case, you will eventually have to explain how the officer's version is wrong. In other words, you just made your situation more difficult for yourself.
  • Be polite and respectful. You can refuse to answer questions without being rude. Simply say, "I'm sorry, I prefer to consult a lawyer before answering that," or something to that effect.
  • Get a lawyer to help deal with the police. If you do not have a lawyer prior to their interrogation, the police must provide you with one if you ask them. As soon as you ask for a lawyer, they are legally required to stop all questioning until your lawyer is present. This is true even if you cannot afford an attorney - one must be provided by the police.

It will not always be easy to follow the above guidelines. Anyone who has been arrested and is dealing with the police is bound to be upset and have trouble remaining respectful. And it may be difficult to remain silent when an officer is threatening to put you in jail or turn your children over to protective services if you don't cooperate. But your silence cannot be reason enough to convict you.

In almost all situations, it is advisable to have an attorney present before answering questions. It may be uncomfortable, but if you accidentally land yourself in jail, you will be much more uncomfortable in the long run.

The Santa Cruz criminal defense law firm of John W. Thornton helps people accused of crimes throughout Santa Cruz County. Contact him immediately.

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