Interactions with law enforcement officials can be stressful, particularly if you are not aware of your rights. This is an overview of what to do if you find yourself stopped by the DC Metropolitan Police Department:
Step 1: Follow Directions
Police have the legal right to ask you to say your name and show identification. If an officer suspects that you may be in possession of a weapon, he or she may also be able to perform a “stop and frisk” without any other probable cause. If you choose to ignore the officer or talk back, you may be at risk of being charged for insubordination or obstruction of justice. These extra penalties can make a simple drug possession case for example, much more difficult.
Step 2: Remember Your Right to Remain Silent
Your most important right when being placed under arrest is your 4th Amendment right to remain silent. Anything you say to an officer can and will be used against you. For this reason, you should refrain from attempting to explain yourself or otherwise providing the police with any information. All confessions or excuses will be written up and made a formal part of your investigation. Politely tell the officer that you wish to speak to an attorney before making any statements.
Step 3: Call a Criminal Defense Attorney
No matter what the crime, DC residents should speak to a criminal defense attorney as soon as they are charged with an offense under local law. Your conduct during police questioning or at an arraignment can have serious repercussions for your case – so it is important to have a trusted criminal defense attorney by your side.
If you need legal advice after an arrest in the District of Columbia, call the law office of Dansie & Dansie at (202) 783-1597. We know the intricacies of the DC criminal code and can offer legal services for misdemeanor and felony convictions. Contact us today to learn more.