Know the Law and Your Rights on Arrest

Know the Law and Your Rights on Arrest

On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man was arrested by the Minneapolis police. On refusing to sit in the squad car, the police had him pinned face down on the street and knelt on his neck for about 9 minutes. Floyd said he could not breathe after about 20 minutes but was not freed. He was pronounced ‘brought dead’ in the hospital after he was taken away. This is not the first case of police brutality in the US. The Black Lives Matter movement was formed in 2013 in response to killing Black men and women by the police. Yet the trend of fatal police shootings seems to be only increasing with a total of 138 civilians been shot, nine of whom were Black as of March 2022.

So, while being taken into custody is a stressful incident, you must know your rights. The best thing you can do for yourself is avoid hostility towards the officer. This is applicable even if it is a wrongful or unreasonable arrest. Now let us have a look at a few rights you can exercise as laid down by the Congress and state legislators.

Miranda Warning

This is a constitutional requirement. You, as a defendant, cannot be questioned by police in custodial interrogation until you are made aware of the right to consult an attorney and the right to remain silent. This is vital since anything you say can be used against you at the court. So, a criminal suspect can refuse to speak up and appoint a lawyer if they wish to. You do not have to answer questions like where you were born or your immigration status.

If the law officials refuse the Miranda warning, they are only allowed to interrogate and act upon the information provided. Your statement may not be used against you in a criminal trial. The typical warning of this US jurisdiction states that you have the right to stop answering at any time and an attorney can be appointed by the government if you cannot afford one.

Searches and Seizure Prevention

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution is established to protect citizens from searches that are deemed unnecessary by law. Even after your arrest, the arresting officer cannot search for weapons if the warrant says marijuana plants or your house if the warrant says front garden. But know that they have the right to search to protect themselves or to save any evidence that the suspect might try to destroy.

Employment Under House Arrest

Non-violent offenders are usually sentenced to a home arrest. You should still be able to go to work even under this condition. Employment will be limited to specific hours. One must wear a monitoring device and present a proper schedule to the court.

You do not have to consent to a search of yourself or your bags and belongings. You can make a local phone call. But the police will listen to the conversation unless it is a lawyer. Injured people can seek medical attention right away. Know that you cannot be arrested at a protest rally simply for being present unless you have directly caused violence. If your rights are violated, feel free to file a written complaint.

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