Arrested for a Criminal Charge: DOs and DON’Ts

Posted on by Townsend Myers

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This is an overview of what you should and should not do in the event you are arrested and charged with a criminal offense in the State of Louisiana. Share this information with your friends and loved ones who live in or may be traveling to New Orleans.

If you have recently been arrested, you can call me at (504) 571-9529, text me at (504) 237-5245, or email me using the “Contact Us” form to the right of this page. I promise your request will be answered immediately.

First off, the best advice I can give anyone who is getting arrested is this: don’t make a statement to the police. You may provide the police with basic information like your name, but if you think that you will be able to talk yourself out of getting arrested or taken to jail by making a statement, you are wrong – and I promise, making a statement about what happened (or didn’t happen) will hurt your case.

I have worked as a criminal defense attorney for 18 years, and I can count on one hand the number clients who gave statements that later helped their case. I have boxes of closed files representing the scores of clients who thought they were smart enough to ignore this bit of age-old advice… and got slammed. Remember, giving an excuse for why you did something wrong is exactly the same as admitting that you did something wrong. It’s called a confession!

I you get arrested you should…

  1. Be courteous and cooperative, and politely decline to answer question. You do have the right to remain silent. That’s not just something they say on T.V.
  2. Don’t act like you know more about your rights than the cop does (even if you do), and don’t say things like “I know what my rights are”. That just makes cops bristle. If you know you have the right to be quiet, just be quiet.
  3. You have the right to know what you are being arrested for, but again a simple polite question will do the trick. If you don’t get the answer, saying something like “I have the right to know what I am being arrested for, and I demand to know” will probably get you nowhere. If you don’t get the answer, don’t force it – you will know the answer soon enough.
  4. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. If you have been charged with a misdemeanor offense you need a lawyer. The criminal process can be complex and confusing, and it’s important to understand your legal rights. The best way to be informed is to contact a Louisiana criminal attorney.

If you’ve been arrested you should NOT…

  1. Don’t attempt to represent yourself.  A criminal conviction can have serious implications for your future. There are ways an experienced criminal defense attorney can reduce your sentence, or negotiate a plea to a lesser charge or even a dismissal. Give yourself the advantage of professional legal representation.
  2. Don’t speak to anyone about details or facts of the case. Only do so if your attorney says otherwise.
  3. Don’t make any statements. Don’t try to win your case on the street. Be courteous and cooperative, but don’t think for a minute that anything you say to a police officer is going to help you while on the scene. Let an experienced attorney fight and try to win your case in court.

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