Top 5 Things to Know and What to Do When You Get Arrested

by James Sullivan

What to Do When You Get ArrestedDo you know what to do when you get arrested?  What should you do? How should you act? There is a brief window of time when you get arrested that will impact your case going forward. You don’t want to say or do anything that will hinder your case or your lawyer’s options going forward. Here are a few things to think about so you what to do when you get arrested.

What to Do When You Get Arrested

The right to remain silent!

The first thing to do once an officer has placed you under arrest is be quiet.  This is when your Miranda rights attach and you should not offer up more information than is necessary. 

A lot of times officers are trained to try and open a dialogue with you while you are being transported to jail, do not be fooled.   A lot of times the cruisers are wired for sound and video, this means the things you say or the way your present yourself (i.e if you’re intoxicated) can be used against you in court. 

Be Polite and Comply

This is something of a hot topic right now. If you feel that you are being unlawfully detained and/or excessive force has been used against you, the arrest is not the time to try and fight back.  Answering force with force, or resisting an officer in the streets will usually only result in an escalation of force that can severely injure you and may result in additional criminal charges being filed.

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Be observant

Always look and see which agency has arrested you (the sheriff’s department, city police, highway state patrol etc…).  This can help determine which county or city facility you are being taken to and will be useful when you reach out to friends or family to tell them where you are.

Call an attorney to help with your Bail Hearing

Once you get locked up the first thing you think about is how and when am I getting out.  You have the right to be given a hearing before a judge or magistrate to examine the charges and the evidence against, you want legal counsel at this stage if at all possible. 

This is where you learn what it will take to get you released from jail.  The court looks at two determining factors to set bail: 

  1. Your history (physical condition, financial resources, family ties, prior criminal record, length of residence in the community, are you a “flight risk” etc…)
  2. Are you a danger to the community (usually determined by the type of crime you are charged with and any aggravating or mitigating circumstances) 

The determination by the judge and skill of your attorney will typically result in either the judge releasing you on “your own recognizance” (without bail)—meaning you are released on your word to appear, or by setting a monetary amount as a surety  and which will be required to be paid prior to you being released

Bail/Bonds

TV and movies aside, there actually is a difference: Bail is when your friends or family pay money to get you out, thereby “bailing” you out of jail.  Bail is returned to you upon your appearance in court. A lot of people do not have the resources to bail their loved ones out and this is where bonds come in.   

Bonds are bail paid by collateral or by a promise to pay. If you go this route you are “bonded out” by a bond company. Bondman typically have an insurance policy that allows them pay the bail and get you out of jail and their policy acts as collateral to get you released. 

If your bail is set at $20,000.00 by the court, a bondsman will need you to put up collateral (cash, your car, or even a house) and charge you a 10% or $2,000.00 as the fee to get you out. Remember, this 10% money is a fee and you cannot get it back by showing up for your hearing.

Be careful paying a lot for a bondsman and not having enough money for an attorney. Look at it like having a broken back—the Bondsman is a temporary painkiller, the lawyer is like a back surgeon. You might get temporary relief by getting out of jail, but if you don’t have money for a lawyer, you could be convicted and go back to jail and have a permanent criminal record.

Do you know what to do when you get arrested? There is a brief window of time when you get arrested that will impact your case going forward. You don’t want to say or do anything that will hinder your case

Note: The foregoing information presented should not be construed as specific legal advice. It is for informational purposes only, and you should address any specific questions towards an attorney in your area.  

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About James Sullivan

James Sullivan is an experienced criminal defense attorney. He has written extensively for many nationally known financial websites and publications.


James Sullivan has written 4 articles on Money Q&A. Learn more about Money Q&A on Twitter @MoneyQandA and @HankColeman.


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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Adriana @MoneyJourney

Interesting read! I’ve never been arrested and of course, hope I never will be. In any case, I agree the right thing to do is to just behave and think about who to call for help. Resisting arrest only leads to more trouble.

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