First 72 Hours After an Arrest
Aug. 20, 2022
If you’ve been charged with any kind of crime in Massachusetts, it’s natural to feel frustrated, even overwhelmed. The first 72 hours after an arrest by law enforcement can be difficult—but it’s also an incredibly important period of time for you and your case. If you fail to spend those hours wisely, you may suffer for it later in court.
The circumstances of any arrest will vary. Nonetheless, there are some critical guidelines you should follow to help keep a bad situation from deteriorating. Doing so could be the difference between a conviction or acquittal, incarceration or freedom, and everything in between.
If you have been arrested for a crime in Quincy, Hingham, Boston, Weymouth, Norwell, or anywhere else in Massachusetts, reach out to McBride Law. Their experience, tenacity, and advocacy—along with what you do during the first 72 hours after your arrest—may make a tremendous difference in what happens next.
What Do I Do After an Arrest?
As is often the case, what you don’t do may be as important as what you do during the first 72 hours after an arrest. Here are five recommendations for behaving wisely:
Don’t fight it. You can be arrested if a law enforcement officer witnesses you committing a crime, if an officer has probable cause to believe you have committed a felony offense, or if a warrant has been issued for your arrest. Regardless of your guilt, contributing circumstances, or innocence of the crime you are being arrested for, fighting back will only get you into more legal trouble. You could also be injured attempting to resist. Certainly, other criminal charges will be tacked on to those for which you are being detained.
Law enforcement can conduct a search of your person or property with a search warrant or upon your arrest. You cannot stop such a search, so do not attempt to do so. Just remain quiet and compliant to avoid giving the officers anything to use against you in court.
Don’t say anything to anyone without your attorney present. Again, “quiet” is the key word. Under your Miranda rights, which should be stated clearly to you by the arresting officer, you have the right to remain silent and say nothing unless your attorney is present. Resist the temptation to explain what you were doing or what you had in your possession.
You can confirm your name if asked. Otherwise, simply advise anyone who asks you a question that you wish to speak with your attorney.
Also, you would be smart to heed this advice even if you are not formally arrested but are questioned. If you are not free to say nothing and leave, you are being detained, which may be paramount to an arrest.
Retain legal counsel. If you have an attorney, make your lawyer the call you make. If you don’t have one, call a close family member or friend you can trust to find and call a criminal defense attorney about your arrest. Do not provide any more information to the person you call other than the fact that you have been arrested, for what, and where you are being detained. Share no other details with anyone other than your attorney once you have retained one.
Work with your lawyer to post bond for your release. Under Massachusetts law, you are to be arraigned for a crime you have been charged with as soon after your arrest as is reasonably possible. The charges will be read at the arraignment. You will be asked to enter a plea, and bail or bond will be set. Since you will be asked to enter a plea, you should have your attorney with you. If you have been unable to retain an attorney prior to arraignment, you should enter a plea of “not guilty” and hire an attorney.
You should work with your attorney and/or a bail bondsman to pay the bond so you can be released from jail. The severity of the charge will determine how high your bail is. The higher it is, the harder it will be to raise the amount you need to bond out of jail.
Maintain a low profile. You should speak only with your criminal defense attorney about your case. Otherwise, you should maintain a low profile. Do not attempt to communicate with any victims or witnesses involved. Avoid using social media not only for the first 72 hours, but until your case is resolved. Talk to your attorney about privilege. None applies to most people and to social media or any other form of communication. Of course, privilege does apply to the attorney-client relationship, so you should be honest with your lawyer. Anything you may say to friends or family or anyone else is not protected by privilege, and those individuals can be called to testify against you.
You should also know that although privilege does apply to your spouse, your spouse can waive that privilege and testify against you.
Defending Your Rights & Future
You are to be presumed innocent until proven guilty and have rights to protect you. Just be sure you exercise those rights, no matter how tempting it is to forgo them. Your attorneys at McBride Law in Quincy, Massachusetts, will give you the legal counsel you need to get through the first 72 hours and the rest of the process. They will staunchly protect your rights and work tirelessly to provide the best criminal defense possible.