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What Are My Rights When Being Arrested?

Being arrested is an intimidating experience, no matter the circumstances. While you expect the police to uphold the law during every arrest, this is not always the case. That's why it's important for people to understand their rights during arrest, as well as steps to address violations should they occur. 

Even if you believe there are no grounds for arrest, it's best to comply with police orders. You're not obligated to speak to the police without a lawyer present and can request free legal help if you're unable to pay. You're also entitled to one phone call during your arrest. Police are permitted to listen to the contents of your call unless you're speaking with your lawyer about the incident. 

While it may be tempting to explain yourself to the police right away, this is not advised unless your lawyer is there. Even an innocent statement can be used to establish guilt, so it's best to remain silent until legal help arrives. You're also not obligated to sign any documents or make any agreements. If you're being pressured to make a decision or feel your rights have been violated in some other way, take note of the officer's name and badge numbers. You'll need this information to file a complaint with the internal review board later. 

If a police officer arrives at your house for the purposes of a search, he or she must present a warrant before entering. You're not obligated to let an officer in unless a warrant with your name is provided. Additionally, the police are only permitted to search the areas of the home listed on the warrant. You can request to read it if one is available.