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Unlawful Arrest Tips

Criminal Defense Attorney Edwin J. Youngblood

How To Survive an Arrest When You Haven't Done Anything Wrong

1.     When stopped by police, immediately assume a non-threatening stance.
  • Keep your hands visible as much and as quickly as possible. If you are in your car and your safety belt is fastened and police are asking you to show your hands and step out of the car, say loudly, "My safety belt is fastened. I have to unfasten it."
  • Say what you are doing, and why, while you are doing it. Be aware that there may be video and audio recordings of the incident.

2.     Speak clearly at all times.
  • If asked to get out of your car, try to stay in front of the patrol car where a camera is likely to be aimed (but do not disobey officer commands). Be careful not to make statements that antagonize the officer.
  • Keep your voice as calm as possible. Try not to gesture with your hands. Do not try to physically resist being handcuffed.
  • Be aware that if the courts find that the officer had the right to detain you, they will be extremely deferential to the police in decisions to use force prior to your being handcuffed.

3.     Do not threaten a lawsuit.
  • That is an invitation for law enforcement officers to pile on the charges and make sure they stick. Officers know that the best defense is a strong offense.
  • Wait until the situation is defused, cleared up, or you are arrested and either jailed or freed.
  • When you hire criminal defense attorney Edwin J. Youngblood you can discuss whether a CIVIL RIGHTS LAWSUIT makes sense and will help or hinder defense of the criminal accusation against you. Often, we can make a useful complaint to the INTERNAL AFFAIRS Division of the Police agency.
4.     Try to gather names of witnesses and physical evidence as soon as possible.
  • Keep in mind that people who witness wrongful police behavior may be outraged at first but with time outrage may fade. Have someone get witness statements while witnesses' memories are fresh and their willingness to help is at its height.
  • The witness should include specific details like the date, the time, the place, of the wrongful acts, words that were spoken, descriptions, I.D. numbers, or names of the officers, and the names of other persons who were present.
  • The witness should also tell the story of what they saw in chronological order. Witnesses should an address and phone number. Have lots of pictures taken if needed to document any physical injury or damage. The imprints of too-tight handcuffs will fade in time.

5.     Remember that part of the problem is always political.
  • It is easy for legislators to win votes by taking a tough stand on crime and voicing support of police. Often, those law-abiding citizens who become victims of police misconduct have also been supporters of tough crime legislation.
  • Politicians who are "tough on crime" should also be tough in support of the civil rights of the accused. Ask them about this when you meet them during political campaigns and elections.


6.     Racial profiling is real.

  • If you're African-American or Hispanic and you're male, the chances are better than even that you will be stopped by law enforcement officers when you haven't done anything wrong. If you're female, they're only a little better.
  • There are other kinds of profiling: younger people with non-"standard" clothing, bumper stickers, or coming from a Club or Bar are also targeted by Police.
  • Do not be tempted to tell the Officer that you know this, but know that this may be brought up to help our defense.

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Call (817)338-4777 to schedule your appointment today.

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