Just Don’t Do It! – You Can’t Talk Your Out of It! ©

I have been practicing law for many years in Metropolitan Atlanta and have seen a wide variety of reactions to getting arrested. Some of these reactions are unwise, but understandable. Others are self defeating to the point of being bizarre.  Sometimes I just shake my head and say, “Lord have mercy!”  No one plans to be arrested.  It can happen to anyone, anywhere, and at any time.

Are you prepared to deal with that life changing moment?  Children get arrested too.  Are you prepared to educate your child on how to deal with that situation?   Let’s think about what you will do and not do if you ever hear the phrase, “Put your hands behind you.” To guard your rights and interests, the simplest TO DO rule is to do what you are told. Simple, but somehow it often escapes someone who is either scared or intoxicated. More important to guarding your rights and interests is knowing what NOT TO DO.  This week we talk about what you should say when you are about to be arrested.  Every situation is different and this advise may not apply to you, but it’s still good to know.  Remember to keep quiet and save your defense for your lawyer to argue— Just Don’t Do It!

Don’t try to convince a law enforcement officer of your innocence.  It’s useless. To justify an arrest without a warrant the arresting officer needs only to show “probable cause” to believe that you have committed a crime. What is the probable cause needed to make a warrantless arrest?  It is the law in Georgia that a law enforcement officer is authorized to make an arrest for a criminal offense without a warrant under a few exigent circumstances: 1) if the offense is committed in the officer’s presence or within the officer’s immediate knowledge; 2) if the offender is endeavoring to escape; 3) if the officer has probable cause to believe that an act of family violence has been committed; 4) if the officer has probable cause to believe that an offense involving physical abuse has been committed against a vulnerable adult; or 5) for other cause if at the moment the arrest is made, the facts and circumstances within the knowledge of the arresting officers and of which they had reasonably trustworthy information were sufficient to warrant a prudent man in believing that the accused had committed or was committing an offense.  Any one of those circumstances would justify an arrest.  Avoid the urging to try and convince the officer that he has made a mistake. The officer does not decide your guilt and he typically does not care if you are innocent or not. Remember that there is an overwhelming probability that you will say at least one thing that will hurt your case. Your comments will likely weaken your defense and ensure a conviction. It is smarter to save your defense for your lawyer.  You cannot convince the police to let you go!  Just Don’t Do It!

Attorney Emerson Carey, Jr. has been a trial lawyer in Atlanta, Georgia for over 21 years. He is an adjunct professor at Emory University School of law where he teaches trial advocacy. Attorney Carey can be reached at 404-635-1112, 1-877-635-1112, and ecarey@careydobson.com.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is not intended to be legal advice and does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.  Every criminal prosecution is based on its individual facts and requires an independent evaluation by a licensed, experienced attorney.