"Dibble’s Do’s & Don’t’s When Arrested"
By Gerald W. Dibble, B.S., J.D., LL. M. (Tax)
(Version 040707a)
(PDF Copy)

These legal tips, and Do's & Don'ts, are for informational purposes only and to assist you before you contact your attorney and are not legal advice or a substitute for legal counsel. These legal tips are intended to be general guidelines and an outline of issues to be discussed and explored in order to determine if they are applicable to your situation. This information is not intended to create, and use of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship or the rendering of legal advice.

Arrested or Wanted by Police? Stay calm: If you are reading this, you are on the right track.

If you or your loved one has been arrested or contacted by the police or other law enforcement authorities, you should immediately contact a lawyer. Your lawyer will know the best way to defend you, enforce your rights and communicate with the authorities.

If you cannot contact a lawyer right away here is some general advice from an experienced criminal defense attorney.

  1. Ask For A Lawyer Immediately. Politely tell the police the following:
    • I want to speak to a lawyer.
    • I hereby invoke all of my constitutional rights.
    • I want to remain silent. I do NOT want to answer any questions or speak with you.
    • I do NOT consent to any search of my person or property or any other place and I request that my lawyer be present if any search is conducted.
    • I do NOT consent to any identification procedure and I request my lawyer be present if any are conducted.

Comment: If a law enforcement authority has been told the immediately preceding language by or on behalf of any person or entity, the person or entity on whose behalf such language is expressed invokes and does not waive his, her or its constitutional rights.

  1. Do Not Speak With Police. Always be polite and obey direct orders but do not speak with the police except to firmly tell them that you want a lawyer.

  2. Do Not Invite Police into Your Home, Car, Office or Other Property. If police have the power to search or arrest without your permission, they will do so. Do not give them permission to enter or inspect your property.

  3. Do Not Consent to Searches. Always be polite and obey direct orders from police but refuse to consent to searches.

  4. Never Physically Resist. Never, ever physically resist police. Always be polite.

  5. Get the Names Phone Numbers and Addresses of Police. Ask police for their names and telephone numbers. If the police say they have a warrant, politely ask for a copy of the warrant. Try to note relevant times.

The New York State Bar Association provides a pamphlet entitled "Your Rights if Arrested". You may click on this title to be linked to the publication.

There may be some instances when it would be in your interests to speak with the police or act contrary to the above guidelines, but only a qualified attorney can make this decision after carefully reviewing the facts of your case.

Note: As used above, the term "police" includes police, peace officers, federal agents, District Attorneys, prosecutors, United States Attorneys, tax agents and any other law enforcement authorities (for example, FBI, DEA, ATF, IRS, etc.).

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