April 13, 2021
Wrong Place, Wrong Time: What to Do if Arrested in Scranton
Law enforcement officers have the difficult and unenviable job of keeping our communities safe by investigating (and hopefully thwarting) unlawful acts that put the public at risk of violence, theft, or other danger. However, just as in any other profession, police investigations aren’t error-proof. Police make mistakes, and sometimes, those mistakes are egregious enough to cost an innocent person his or her freedom by being arrested.
If you are arrested in Pennsylvania after being at the wrong place at the wrong time, do not assume you can simply talk your way out of it. Even if you have done absolutely nothing wrong, the outcome of your case will depend on what the evidence shows. As Scranton criminal defense lawyers, we are familiar with the fact that evidence can sometimes be misleading.
In these situations, you have a good shot at having these charges dismissed entirely for lack of evidence.
Scranton Arrest Dos and Don’ts
No one anticipates being arrested, and such an occurrence can leave you distraught and panic-stricken. This is understandable. But if you can keep some of these basic dos and don’ts in mind, you will have a much stronger chance of putting this all behind you rather than being put behind bars.
- DON’T TALK TO POLICE. It is your right to remain silent, and you would be wise to take advantage of it. It is stunning how many people think they’ll be able to talk themselves out of this mess or convince officers of their innocence. You need to remember two basic things:
- No. 1. The officer has heard it all before.
- No. 2. He/she is not your friend and does not care whether you are innocent or guilty. More times than not, when you talk, you make the situation worse for yourself – even if you truly are entirely innocent. Just keep quiet. Your attorney will have plenty of time to talk on your behalf later.
- DON’T RUN OR RESIST. If you run or resist arrest, it will almost never end well. Running or resisting in and of itself can lead to additional charges – in some cases very serious ones. Never touch an officer or even attempt to swat an officer’s hand away. Even this seemingly minor, defensive act can be construed as a threat and is often over-reported to seem more serious than it was. What you want to keep in mind is this: fight the charges, not the officer.
- DON’T USE FORCE. Just as much as you want to run or resist the arrest being made, you cannot–similarly, you cannot use force against a police officer, even if you feel as though they are using excessive force against you. If you do use force against an officer, you may face charges of resisting arrest or battery on an officer.
- DON’T BELIEVE POLICE. Law enforcement officers have a wide berth of discretion, and in many cases, they are entirely within their rights to lie to you. They may tell you they have solid proof of your guilt, via fingerprints or the confession of a friend.
- DO BE RESPECTFUL. This is incredibly important. While showing disrespect to the officer isn’t a crime, it’s likely to land you in a whole heap more trouble. It doesn’t matter that you’re innocent or who you know or if the officer really was being a jerk. The officer has a lot of discretion in determining what exactly your charges will be, such as whether you’ll be charged with a misdemeanor or felony. The officer sometimes even has to pull with your prosecutor in deciding whether to show some leniency.
- REMAIN IN YOUR HOME. DON’T ALLOW A SEARCH. If an officer comes to your home and asks to come inside or asks you to step outside, politely decline. Say you are comfortable where you are. Say if they would like to come in, they will first need a warrant. An officer who comes into your home without a warrant may well have just given up on whatever evidence is discovered there.
- DO INVOKE YOUR RIGHTS. Under the law, you can invoke your constitutional rights, including saying, “I wish to remain silent and I would like to talk to a lawyer.” Once you have done so, stay silent. If you begin talking and say something incriminating, it can be used against them in court. You can tell the police officer your name and basic information, such as your address and birth date, but do not provide any additional details of the arrest or situation.
DO CALL MAZZONI KARAM PETORAK & VALVANO.
If you have been arrested in Scranton, it’s important to remember first and foremost not to panic. Try to take a deep breath and remember that whether this is over soon or will be a long ordeal, you do yourself no favors by panicking. Keeping a cool head and declining to speak will go far. Say firmly and clearly that you want an attorney present with you before speaking – and then contact us as soon as possible.