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Explore General Legal Issues

Examining Your Arrest For Legality

by Ralph Griffin

The law in America works both ways. All citizens must obey the laws, and law enforcement, too, has a set of rules and laws to follow. If you are arrested, every aspect of the arrest should stand up to scrutiny. Read on for some common issues that could call into question the legality of your arrest.

Being Detained 

It's become common to detain people in the interest of obtaining information. When you are "just" detained, it means that law enforcement suspects you of something but are not sure they have enough to make an arrest. They don't have an unlimited amount of time to make a decision to either arrest you or release you. Each state specifies how long a person may be held in custody before they are charged, and it varies from 48 to 72 hours. That is a long time to be held without the benefit of counsel. If you believe you were unlawfully detained, whether you were charged or not, speak to a criminal law attorney at once.

Read Your Rights 

Miranda rights come from the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution. Here are few things to keep in mind about being read your Miranda Warning:

You cannot be compelled to speak to law enforcement, within reason. Not covered by the phrase "you have the right to remain silent" are basic actions like providing a name, birth date, and other identifying information to law enforcement. That is all you must say, however.

You have the right to an attorney and you should never speak to law enforcement without an attorney's advice and presence. If you do speak up against your attorney's advice or before your attorney arrives, you are not protected by the Miranda right against self-incrimination. That means anything you say might be used against you in court. Law enforcement must halt all questioning once you ask for a lawyer.

Humane Arrests

Much has been made, recently, of incidences of police brutality. Law enforcement personnel are expected to maintain a calm and professional demeanor at all times during an arrest. Without proper training and oversight, law enforcement personnel can perpetrate a number of criminal acts upon suspects. The main issue is the use of excessive force. If you have been injured during an arrest through no fault of your own, speak to a lawyer.

The above is just a sampling of how an arrest could go off the rails. Be sure you speak to a criminal law attorney about any questionable tactics employed by law enforcement during your arrest.