For most people, being arrested is one of the most frightening and stressful interactions with law enforcement that they will ever have. When you are arrested, your liberty is taken in a way that is not natural and you will probably have a lot of questions racing through your mind, like “What have I done?” “Should I say anything?” “Do I need a lawyer?” There is nothing wrong with being prepared for an arrest, even if you are a law-abiding citizen and have no intention of breaking any laws.
Below, we’ll go over what your rights are if you are arrested.
First, we should note the difference between a “stop” and an arrest. A “stop” occurs when a police officer stops you, normally to ask you a few questions, and uses a show of authority that indicates that you are not free to leave. These incidents are normally brief and occur in the place where you were detained. An arrest is different. If the officer wants to hold you longer, or decides to take you elsewhere, such as to the police station, the officer is no longer just stopping you, but is arresting you. An arrest deprives you of your freedom of movement for an even longer period of time than a stop.
If you are arrested, you have certain rights, as illustrated below.
The right to be told why you are being arrested and the nature of the charges against you. If you are arrested pursuant to a warrant, you have the right to see the warrant within a reasonable time after your arrest.
If you have been arrested, you will need competent representation to guide you through the often-confusing criminal justice system. Contact the West Chester, PA criminal defense attorneys at the Skinner Law Firm for a free consultation by calling 610-436-1410.