The police arrested you, and now you’re sitting in the back of a cop car. You’ve got an explanation that is sure to get you out of this, but making your argument now could make it much harder to present a winning case later.

Someone is arrested in the U.S. every three seconds. Sometimes for a crime, and sometimes because of a misunderstanding. But whatever the reason, it could be your actions immediately following your arrest instead of proceeding it that gets you in trouble. Speaking out after an arrest could be your downfall when the state presses charges, so make sure you know how to handle yourself.

Silence can be golden

Your best move after an arrest is probably to cooperate and remain silent. Opposite that, there are plenty of ways to talk yourself in a hole:

  • Trying to explain: When speaking with an officer, never try to explain what happened. The officer isn’t likely trying to understand your side of the story. Instead, they’re probably forming a comprehensive list of charges before they take you to the police station. Not only did you possibly cement your arrest, but maybe even waived your Fifth Amendment rights, which allows you to stay quiet.
  • Admitting to a crime: While it may be up to the cop to gather evidence and determine what to charge you with, confessing serves it all up on a platter. Regardless of whether you broke the law, it is still essential for a police officer to respect your rights and follow procedures. You could use a failure on their part as a defense in your trial, but an admittance of guilt may clear the way for prosecution.
  • Speaking without a lawyer: The state will likely use any statement you make after your arrest, whether it’s in the back of a cop car, an interview room at the police station or even over the phone from jail. You have the right to a lawyer who knows the law and can give you advice on when to speak and what to say.

Understand your rights and stick to them after an arrest. There are a time and place to plead your case. Knowing when that is could mean all the difference in your situation.