Posted on September 21, 2022 in Criminal Defense
You’ve probably seen it a million times on TV or in movies: someone has been taken in by police and demands their phone call. But is this really a right? What are your other rights if you are taken in by the police? Understanding your rights is an important initial step in your criminal defense, whether you’ve been charged with a drug crime, violent crime, DUI, or another type of offense.
Before you can understand your rights, it is important that you understand the difference between detention and arrest. Police have the right to “detain” a person for a short period of time if they are suspected of committing a crime. Because slight detention is not viewed by the courts as oppressive as a true restraint on your liberty like an arrest, you do not have as many rights if you are detained but not arrested.
If you are detained (but not arrested), you generally do not have a right to a phone call. However, you are free to leave at any time and to refuse to answer any questions from the police. Your right to remain silent comes from the Fifth Amendment, and you should exercise it. This right applies regardless of your citizenship status.
Because an arrest symbolizes a significant restraint on your liberty, you have several important rights that will apply. After an arrest, you will be taken to a local jail precinct and booked. Your information is recorded, the arrest is written into official police records, you are fingerprinted, the officers take a copy of your identification, and you are photographed.
If the crime is not too serious, the police may immediately release you and give you a court date to return. In other cases, such as if you are charged with a felony, you may have to first appear before a judge. You may be able to pay bail to get out, be released on your own recognizance, or be held in custody until your trial.
After you are arrested, you have certain rights, including:
Also, you have the right to make and complete a telephone call in the local area. Police should not listen in if the call is to a lawyer. You will, later on, have the right to make a reasonable number of additional phone calls or otherwise communicate with a lawyer of your choice and a family member as well. And if law enforcement transfers you to another facility, this right is renewed.
If you are not a U.S. citizen, you have the right to contact your local consulate or embassy, which can assist you or your family with finding legal representation.
You also have a right to an itemized receipt of all the property police take from your person after you are placed into custody.
Police cannot deprive you of your rights by trying to force you to talk, answer questions, or sign papers through threats or coercion.
Even if you have a right to a phone call, you should be very careful when exercising this right. Law enforcement officers may record your phone calls or try to eavesdrop on them.
If you want to protect your rights after an arrest, the best way to do so is to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as you can.
For more information, contact the criminal defense attorney Craig Orent. Give us a call at (480) 656-7301 or visit our law office at 11811 N Tatum Blvd UNIT 3031, Phoenix, AZ 85028. We offer a free case evaluation, so get the help you deserve today.