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False Arrests: It Can Happen to you.

Posted by Seth Chazin | Dec 10, 2012 | 0 Comments

Many innocent people are accused of committing crimes and end up in jail or prison. Although the American criminal justice system works in some cases, juries, judges, and law enforcement officials don't always get things right. The best way to avoid such an unjust result and ensure a proper outcome when faced with criminal accusations or charges is to immediately seek counsel from a high quality criminal defense attorney.

A person falsely accused of committing a crime faces many of the same challenges as a criminal defendant who has committed a crime and has an even greater need for a highly competent criminal defense lawyer.

If you are falsely arrested, it's natural to want to speak to the police in order to explain your side of the story. However, many people say or do things that can later hurt them in court. If you are arrested, it is important remember the following recommendations:

Stay calm and cooperate with police instructions. Even if officers say hurtful things that make you angry, it's extremely important to keep your composure. Becoming aggressive will not help the situation and may hurt your case.

Ask if you are under arrest. If the answer is “No,” refuse to answer any questions posed to you by the police.  You also may have the right to leave and you should request to do so.  If you are being detained pursuant to an investigative detention or you are informed that you are under arrest,  refuse to answer any questions or make any statements (written or oral) until your attorney is present.

Request an attorney. If you don't have an attorney, you have a right to a free lawyer if you can't afford to hire one yourself. Once you request an attorney, officers are obligated under the law to stop questioning you until your attorney is present and has had time to confer with you. However, the officers often will try repeatedly to get you to make statements, and will often not follow the law. You must continue to refuse to make any statements.

Try to remember as many details about your case as you can. It may be helpful to create a written record to keep your memory fresh. However, do not write anything down until you are out of custody because the police may intercept these writings and use them against you.

Once you have an attorney, provide him or her with your side of the story. You should be open and honest with your attorney no matter how embarrassing certain details may be as otherwise they may be hampered in their ability to assist you. Your attorney must adhere to strict confidentiality laws and rules and cannot discuss such details with anyone else without your permission. It's important to disclose everything to your attorney, and only your attorney, so that he or she may act swiftly and aggressively to defend your innocence.

About the Author

Seth Chazin

Seth P. Chazin has aggressively defended clients in thousands of felony and misdemeanor cases for over 30 years. He has extensive experience representing criminal defendants in federal and state court, while handling both state and federal appeals as well.


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“The death penalty is a lie, a misguided mistake born of anger and frustration. Capital punishment has become a perverse monument to inequality, to how some lives matter and others do not. It is a violent example of how we protect and value the rich and abandon and devalue the poor. The death penalty is a grim, disturbing shadow formed by the legacy of racial apartheid and bias against the poor that condemns the disfavored among us, but corrupts us all. It’s the perverse symbol elected officials use to strengthen their ‘tough on crime’ reputations and distract us from confronting the causes of violence. It is finally the enemy of grace, redemption and all of us who recognize that each person is more than their worse act.”
- Bryan Stevenson