Your Rights

If you are arrested you should know what to do and what your rights are. In order to be arrested, there must be what's called "probable cause." This means that there must be a reasonable belief that a crime was committed, and you committed the crime. The police DO NOT need an arrest warrant.


After you're placed under arrest, you are protected by constitutional rights. Two important rights to be aware of are the right to remain silent and the right to have an attorney. After your arrest, you aren't required to say anything else to police or investigators, until you have an attorney present. You must be given the opportunity to contact an attorney.


1. DO NOT MAKE ANY STATEMENTS! You have the right to remain silent and to talk to a lawyer before you talk to the police. Tell the police nothing except your name and address. Don't give any explanations, excuses, or stories.


2. ASK IMMEDIATELY TO SEE AN ATTORNEY. If you can't pay for a lawyer, you have the right to a free one, and should ask the police how the lawyer can be contacted. Don't say anything without a lawyer.


3. Within a reasonable time after your arrest, or booking, you have the right to make a local phone call to a lawyer, bail bondsman, a relative, or any other person. The police may not listen to the call to the lawyer.

Tips
  • Don't get into an argument with the police. Remember, anything you say or do can be used against you.

  • Keep your hands where the police can see them. Don't touch any police officer.

  • Don't resist even if you believe you are innocent.

  • Remember officers' badge and patrol car numbers.

  • Write down everything you remember ASAP.

  • Try to find witnesses and their names and phone numbers.

Related Links

Information courtesy of the Allegheny County Bar Association

400 Koppers Building - 436 Seventh Ave. - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15219 - Phone: 412-261-6161 - Fax: 412-261-3622 - E-mail: Staff@acba.org

 

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