Learn the Right Steps to Minimize Potential Consequences
Being detained or taken into custody by a law enforcement officer can be scary and intimidating, even when you’ve done nothing wrong. Adrenaline and emotions can take over, causing you to react in ways that only make things worse. Knowing your rights, and what to do, can minimize the consequences and help you avoid further charges or intervention by police officers. Let’s look at some of the critical things you should do, as well as actions to avoid, if you’re detained or taken into custody.
What to Do When You’re Stopped or Taken into Custody
Though it may be the hardest thing to do when dealing with law enforcement officers, first and foremost, try to remain calm. Your heart is likely to race, but try to take steady, slow, and long breaths. If you remain calm, the officer is likely to remain calm as well, and you can have a relaxed conversation about why you were stopped. However, if you become excited, animated, or agitated, the officer may claim he found it necessary to use force to secure you.
When you’re taken into custody by a police officer, your rights are based on constitutional guarantees. Some of those rights are explained in a well-known United States Supreme Court opinion, Miranda v. Arizona. Miranda rights apply only if you are taken into custody. If police simply stop you under suspicion of illegal activity, they need not read you your Miranda rights.
Miranda rights include:
- The right to remain silent – Police officers will try to get you to talk, hoping you’ll say something that can be held against you in court.
- You have the right to speak with a lawyer before answering any questions.
- If you can’t afford an attorney, you have the right to have one appointed for you before you answer any questions.
- If you decide to answer questions without a lawyer present, you can stop answering at any time.
If you are merely detained by police, there’s no requirement that you provide your name, address, or date of birth. However, if police arrest you, you must accurately identify yourself. If you provide false information to a police officer who has legally pulled you over, detained you, or taken you into custody, you can be charged with “failure to identify,” a misdemeanor that can result in a $4,000 fine and up to a year in jail.
Though you may disagree with some of the allegations made against you after you’re detained or taken into custody, there is nothing to be gained by arguing with police officers or physically challenging them. Either situation might provide the police with a “reasonable” basis to respond with physical force.
Contact the Proven Criminal Defense Attorneys at Bailey & Galyen
At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we offer a free initial consultation to every client. For an appointment with a results-oriented Texas criminal defense lawyer, contact us by e-mail or call our offices at 844-402-2992. We will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.