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  • Writer's pictureWilliam Matthews

Steps to Take If You're Arrested: A Comprehensive Guide

Updated: Aug 22, 2023


Getting arrested is a stressful and potentially life-altering experience that can happen to anyone, even those who believe they've done nothing wrong. It's crucial to know your rights and the appropriate actions to take to ensure your well-being and protect your legal standing. In this guide, we'll walk you through the steps to take if you find yourself under arrest, focusing on remaining calm, exercising your rights, and seeking legal representation.

1. Stay Calm and Composed

The first and most important step when you're arrested is to remain calm and composed. It's natural to feel frightened or anxious, but keeping a clear head will help you make better decisions and cooperate with law enforcement more effectively. Remember that staying calm not only helps you, but it also ensures the situation remains as safe as possible for everyone involved.

2. Understand Your Rights

It's vital to be aware of your rights during an arrest. The most fundamental of these rights include:

  • Right to Remain Silent: You have the right to remain silent and avoid self-incrimination. You are not obligated to answer any questions beyond providing basic identification information.

  • Right to an Attorney: You have the right to an attorney. If you can't afford one, a public defender will be provided to you. Exercise this right before answering any questions from law enforcement.

  • Right to Refuse Search: You can refuse a search of your person, vehicle, or property unless the police have a valid warrant. Remember that consenting to a search may waive some of your rights.

3. Cooperate, But Be Mindful

While remaining silent is your right, cooperation with law enforcement to a reasonable extent can help prevent escalating the situation. Provide your identification and follow instructions calmly. However, avoid volunteering information or getting into discussions about the case without your attorney present.

4. Stay Informed About the Charges

Politely ask the arresting officers about the charges against you. This information is crucial for understanding the situation and discussing it with your legal counsel later on. Avoid making any statements until you've spoken with your attorney.

5. Contact Legal Representation

As soon as possible, request an attorney. If you can't afford one, ask for a public defender. Do not answer any questions from law enforcement until your attorney is present. Your lawyer will guide you through the legal process, help you understand your options, and ensure your rights are protected.

6. Avoid Making Admissions or Confessions

Regardless of your guilt or innocence, it's essential not to make any admissions or confessions without consulting your attorney. Even seemingly innocent statements could be used against you in court.

7. Document the Experience

If possible, take mental notes or even write down what happens during your arrest. This can be useful for your attorney in preparing your defense. Include details about the officers involved, what was said, and any actions taken during the arrest.

8. Respectfully Assert Your Rights

If you believe your rights are being violated or if the situation becomes hostile, remain calm but assert your rights firmly. Remember, you have the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney, and the right to be treated with respect.


Being arrested is undoubtedly a daunting experience, but knowing your rights and taking appropriate steps can help you navigate the situation more effectively. By remaining calm, exercising your rights, and seeking legal representation, you can protect your legal standing and ensure a fair process. Remember, the criminal justice system is designed to uphold your rights, and understanding these steps will empower you to make informed decisions during a challenging time. If you need the help an Orlando, Florida criminal defense attorney, give my Orlando, Florida office a call at (407) 561-8166.

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