What You Need to Know if You Are Arrested

If you are arrested or taken to a police station, you should know the following:

  1. You have the right to remain silent. This right is given to you by the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution and by the laws of the State of Illinois. It is your right not to say anything and not to answer any questions.

  2. You have the right to talk to an attorney before the police question you.

  3. Do not tell the police anything but your name and address, and that you want a lawyer.

  4. Tell the police that you want a lawyer, even if you cannot afford a lawyer. You have the right to have a lawyer present with you.

  5. Do not say anything else to the police. Do not try to explain anything the police tell you, do not argue with the police about what they say or things they tell you. Do not offer any alibi. Do not give reasons or excuses for anything. Do not tell the police any story. Insist on seeing a lawyer

  6. Ask to call a lawyer or a family member who can contact a lawyer for you. You are entitled to a phone call.

  7. Although you have a right to know why you are being arrested – it is best if you do not engage in any conversations with the officer, because anything you say can and will be used against you in court.

  8. You have the right to be brought before a Judge within 72 hours of your arrest.

  9. You have the right to be treated humanely while you are in custody, to be reasonably fed and allowed to use the bathroom.

  10. The police CAN listen in on phone calls to your family or friends, so be careful.

  11. The police are not allowed to listen to a phone call with your attorney.

  12. Try and call your family or friends as soon as possible and ask them to get you a lawyer.

  13. Remember, the police want to question you so they can obtain incriminating evidence from you. One of the most damaging pieces of evidence to be used by the State, at trial, against a person charged with a crime, is the person’s own statement and confession given to the police or a prosecutor. That is why the police want to question you – to get that evidence that they can use against you. If you remain silent, say nothing and ask for an attorney, you will not provide the police and prosecutors with this damaging evidence.

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