Do The Police Have To Tell Me Why They Arrested Me In Los Angeles?
When I meet with clients about their criminal matters, a lot of times they tell me the police refused to tell them why they were being arrested or explain anything about what was going on. They just grabbed them, shoved them into the police vehicle and told them to be quiet. There really isn’t any rule that says the police have to tell you why you’re being arrested. In other words, I haven’t seen a scenario where somebody got arrested, the police refused to tell them why they were being arrested, and somehow that was used either as a defense or used to lessen the charges or used to get rid of the charges. Which makes sense. Why would there be a rule if they don’t tell you what you’re being arrested for that somehow you can get some sort of a benefit from.
Most times, the police will eventually tell you why you’re being arrested, but the bottom line is this, when they tell you, they’re usually going to have you in a room. They’re either going to be audio or videotaping you or both, and they’re going to be ready to ask you some direct questions to see if they can get you to incriminate yourself or say something to help them in the prosecution of your case.
So, the bottom line is, yes, you want to know what you’re being arrested for, but a lot of times when they tell you, people will say something in response to that which later the police will somehow try to use against them. You have to be careful about that. You really don’t want to talk to the police about why they’re arresting you, what charges are being leveled against you, what witnesses are saying about you because once they tell you that and you respond to that in any way, they’re going to try to use your response against you. What I always say is, the most powerful evidence the police typically have against people in criminal cases is their own statement, because their own statement is either being twisted against them or the person actually said something that is clearly against their own self-interest, and most jurors, prosecutors, judges, individuals who look at the case are going to say, why would somebody say that unless it was true? It doesn’t make any sense. Nobody would want to say anything against themselves.
So, long story short, the police do not have to tell you why you’re being arrested in LA even though they usually do, and when they do, they’re looking to get some sort of a rise or answer out of you that incriminates you. So, if they didn’t’ tell you why they’re arresting you, it’s fairly meaningless and your job should be — once you’ve been arrested — to get in front of a criminal defense attorney, sit down with them, give them all the details and facts related to your case so they can start to assess what the best way is to help you.
You should also realize that even if the police tell you why they think you’re being arrested, a lot of times you don’t even end up being charged with what they’re arresting you for. In other words, the police, when they’re arresting people have to decide what to book them for, what to arrest them for because they have to put something in the paperwork. They have to figure out what the bail is and there are bails attached to everything that the police arrest somebody for. But what ends up happening is, after they arrest you, they’re then going to send the paperwork to the prosecutors. The prosecutors are lawyers like me. They’re going to get the paperwork and information and then they will make a decision on what to file, and they’re going to base that decision on what they can prove. Can they prove what the police booked you for? Is there a better crime to charge you with that more fits the facts of your circumstances?
So, ultimately, it really doesn’t matter what the police are arresting you for, because the prosecutors are going to make the final decision of what you’re charged with, and then in the end, your defense attorney is going to be the one that is going to speak to the prosecutors and judge, speak to you and make a decision on whether or not they’ve actually got any good evidence to charge you with any crime at all and if they do, what the appropriate charge should be and then they’re going to negotiate on your behalf. They’re either going to try to get the case dismissed or get the charges lessened, or they’re going to try to work out some resolution that keeps you out of jail, protects your liberty, your reputation, your record.
So, sit down with your attorney first, tell them what happened and then let them do the strategic moves that gets you the best outcome.
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