Getting arrested can be a frightening experience. Fortunately, there are laws in place here in Maryland that are designed to protect you. It’s important to know your rights beforehand, so that you’re prepared if you find yourself in this situation.
What is an arrest?
First, let’s take a step back and define exactly what it means to be arrested. Simply put, an arrest is when a police officer takes someone into custody. An officer might arrest someone if they have probable cause to believe that the person has committed a crime or is about to commit a crime, or if that person seems to be a danger to themself or others.
How does that differ from an arrest warrant?
An arrest warrant is a written order by a judge or a magistrate ordering the police to arrest the person named in the warrant. If the police have a warrant for your arrest, they are required to tell you upfront that they have one, and they also need to show the warrant to you at the time of your arrest (or immediately thereafter).
What happens during an arrest?
While specific situations can vary, an arrest generally involves the following:
- The arresting officer or officers will place you in handcuffs.
- They may search you for weapons or contraband, if they have a warrant (or if they have probable cause).
- They will read you your Miranda rights, which inform you that you have the right to remain silent and to have an attorney present during questioning.
- They will take you to the nearest police station.
What rights do you have when you’re arrested?
Under Maryland law, you have certain rights that can’t be violated, regardless of circumstance. These include:
The right to remain silent. These are part of the Miranda rights mentioned above. You are not required to answer any questions that the police ask you.
The right to an attorney. If you’ve been arrested, you are entitled to have a lawyer present during questioning and at any other stage of the process. If you can’t afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you for free.
The right to a fair trial. You have the right to a trial by jury and to be able to face your accusers.
The right to be free from self-incrimination. You can’t be forced to testify against yourself.
The right to due process of law. You are entitled to fair treatment by the police and the courts. Your attorney’s job is to help ensure that you get this fair treatment.
What should you do if you’re arrested?
Here are some tips for what to do and say if you’re arrested in the state of Maryland.
- Don’t resist arrest. If the police have probable cause to arrest you, you won’t be able to get out of it by resisting. Even if you believe you are being arrested unfairly, resisting it may make the situation worse for you.
- Don’t consent to any searches. The police can’t search you or your property without your consent unless they have a warrant or can prove probable cause. If the police ask to search you, you should politely decline.
- Ask for a lawyer. As soon as you are arrested, you should ask for a lawyer. You don’t have to answer any questions without first speaking to an attorney.
- Be cooperative with the police. Regardless of whether or not you think you deserve to be arrested, cooperating will defuse the situation and make it more likely for the police to treat you fairly.
Of course, the most important thing you should do if you’re arrested is to contact an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. This person will work hard to help you understand your rights and to protect your interests throughout the criminal process.
If you’ve been arrested and you are in need of a defense attorney, contact the Law Offices of Nicholas Parr in Baltimore, MD today to schedule your free consultation. We don’t receive a fee unless we win.