Many of our clients have a friend or loved one who find themselves in this unfortunate situation due to a mistake or being in the wrong place at the wrong time. In fact, we are frequently asked to assist our clients with securing representation in such situations. Although we sincerely hope this never happens to your friend or loved one, we have asked our friend and frequent co-counsel Gil Berry III to write about some things to remember if it ever does.
Gil’s roots in the law are deep. His father, Gil Berry II, was a successful Indianapolis criminal defense attorney for 49 years. That got Gil interested in the profession, but his enjoyment of helping people solve problems is what has kept him successfully engaged in his practice for so long. We often introduce clients to Gil when they find themselves in need of experienced criminal representation. The three of us have been working on a co-counsel basis for over five years and together we’ve helped a lot of people.
Gil has helped clients through all types of criminal charges and knows how to handle these situations. “You cannot really pin down any hard and fast rules when it comes to arrest protocol because every case is unique, but there are some basic premises you should always remember,” says Berry.
Here are the three things Gil advises his clients know when law enforcement comes knocking at their door or pulls them over:
“That’s right, zip it! Don’t volunteer any details to the arresting officer. You have rights, and a big one is the right to remain silent; so use it. Typically, the police ask questions in an attempt to elicit damaging information, sometimes even a confession. Law enforcement officers are skilled at encouraging people to divulge more information than they are required to provide, which will only make your defense (another right to which you are entitled) more challenging. Don’t make that mistake. Keep silent and avoid hurting yourself unnecessarily.”
Know Your Rights.
“Never allow the police to do unauthorized searches. They need a warrant to search your vehicle or home. They know this, but are counting on the fact that you may not. Without legal documentation, they cannot search your property unless you allow them to. Don’t. The law protects you from this and you should take full advantage of this right.”
“Always be agreeable with the police. Don’t be rude or argumentative. Doing so is only going to stir things up and make the situation more contentious, which does not help you. Be polite and cooperative. This does not require you to suddenly become chatty or extremely accommodating. Just be courteous and respectful. It will greatly reduce your chances of getting in a lot more trouble than you may already be in.
“And never, ever, resist arrest. This follows on the coattails of the previous point. Because you obviously want to be perceived as completely innocent, don’t give the police any reason to believe that you are guilty. Running does exactly that and it hurts your odds of a good and fair resolution. Make no mistake: the police are going to catch you, and the punishment is going to be even more severe if you make that task difficult for them. You know what they say: first impressions are everything.”
The best way to find a lawyer is to ask a lawyer you know. Even though we do not practice criminal law, we can still help you with this or any legal issue by introducing you to a lawyer we know and trust. We know many experienced attorneys like Gil in virtually every practice area. Therefore, if you’re facing any legal issue such as a DUI, a family or domestic matter (divorce, child custody, etc.), a collection action or bankruptcy, a civil rights violation, a suspended driver’s license, or are in need of a will or some more advanced estate planning, let us help you find the right lawyer.