What to do when you are arrested


When a person performs anything against the law, they may get arrested. In the normal sense, “arrest” refers to fear, restraint, or deprivation of one’s own liberty. Chapter V, Section 41-60 of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 deals with the Arrest of a person. The motive of arresting an alleged offender is to ensure that they don't interfere with the evidence and are present at the trial for which they have been charged.

You are taken into custody when you are arrested, meaning you are not free to leave the scene. You can be detained, however, without being charged or held for questioning for a short period if a police officer or any other person believes you to be involved in a crime.

No matter whether you are arrested or detained, you do not need to answer any questions except to tell your name and address and some identification (if requested).

Now, before we discuss what you need to do after you get arrested, let’s discuss the Dos and Don’ts of the arrest.

Do's When You Get Arrested 

  • Be polite with the police officers. Do not give officers the impression that you are hard to deal with or irritating, and do not give them a reason to find you threatening.
  • Ask for the officer's name and badge number and try to remember them. Capture look at the officer's face to identify them later by that method (if necessary).
  • Once you are arrested, claim your right to have your lawyer present before speaking to the police.
  • DO inform the police that you will not speak to them about anything in the absence of a lawyer.
  • If you are arrested when you are in your car, show the officer your driver's license and other required information.
  • Note down everything that happened during your arrest so that you can use that writing to refresh your memory later.
  • If the officer physically injures you during your arrest, seek medical attention and inform them of the cause of your injuries. Don't forget to capture pictures of your injuries as soon as possible.
  • Recall your right not to answer ANY question the police ask. If you answer a question that initially seems harmless, be aware that it may come back to haunt you.

The Don't When You Get Arrested 

  • Don't get into an argument with the officers, no matter how hard they may try to make you lose your temper.
  • Don't initiate any physical contact with the officers.
  • Don't speak to the police about anything. Let your lawyer talk to them.
  • Don't interfere with or try to irritate the police. If you do, you may face additional criminal charges.
  • Don't lie to your lawyer or the officers (if you choose to talk to them). 
  • Don't agree to participate in a line-up in the absence of your lawyer.
  • Don't run away from the officers if you catch them approaching you. Running away gives them a reason to suspect that you are hiding something from them, even if you are not.
  • Don't assume the police have a search warrant just because they say they have. Always remember your right to check their warrant.
  • Don't stop arrest. If you think you are not guilty, the time to protest will come later.
  • Don't allow the police to listen to any telephone calls you make to your lawyer, while the police can listen to conversations with other individuals. Still, they do not have any right to listen to a discussion with your lawyer because the attorney-client privilege protects it.
  • Don't sign anything without your lawyer.
  • Don't let your property be checked without the permission of the lawyer.
  • Don't give the officer information about your name and address unless your lawyer approves. 

Your Rights If You Are Arrested

Understanding your rights and adequately using them can make a difference in the result of any criminal case.

In the case of an arrest, remember that you have certain rights:

  • The right to remain silent: You are not required to answer any questions about the alleged crime. Claim this right instantly if you are arrested.
  • The right to know why they have arrested you: Officers must tell you why they have detained you. If a warrant calls for your arrest, you have a right to see and understand it. Do not try to counter even if you believe this is a false charge.
  • The right to have a lawyer: You are not required to answer questions without an attorney present. You have a right to make your lawyer present with you while answering the questions.

These are your rights guaranteed by the Constitution. If you haven't received these warnings, your lawyer can ask that your statements to the police not be used against you in court. But this doesn't essentially mean that your case will be closed. The law doesn't apply if you volunteer information without being questioned by the officers.

You must know what you should and should not do. The first thing an individual should do is invoke the right to remain silent and request to speak with an attorney so they could understand why you are being charged and what the options are. Learn more about Legal Rights of arrested person in India.

Do Not Use Force

In most cases, one doesn't have the right to hold out against arrest. The arrestee doesn't have that right, even if the arrest isn't legal. A person who uses force can be imposed, resisting arrest, or worse. And that person may end up having some serious injuries. If you are arrested without reasonable cause, fight in court, not on the street.

After the Arrest

If you are arrested, you will be fished around– in the scene, jail, or sometimes both – and any evidence, if present, will be seized. You'll be photographed, and there will be a record of the arrest. 

Every person arrested and questioned by police must be informed of their legal rights to remain silent and be assisted by an attorney. Usually, an officer will say, "You have the right to remain silent. You have another right popularly known as "the right to an attorney"; if you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be arranged for you. If you waive these rights and talk to us, anything you say may be used against you in court. 

Invoke Your Rights

Invoke both of your rights! Just say, "I wish to remain silent, and I would like to talk only when my lawyer is here." Once you have used your rights, be quiet. People usually say, "I don't want to talk." You can tell the police your basic information, including your name, address, and date of birth, but do not tell them anything else. Once you are arrested, don't talk to police officers, your family or friends, or other inmates about your case.

Police are trained to pull out your information. They can turn it over to the police to secure a better deal for themselves. You should remember that you are being recorded and monitored if you have conversations in jail with visitors. However, you and your lawyer can decide what you should say, if anything, to the police.

Call For Help

In most cases, you are allowed to phone call your family, bail, and an attorney. You will get a public defender if you can't afford a lawyer. You should remember the number of people to call if you are arrested. Officer will probably not let you use your cell phone to make calls. Again, remember that any calls you make from a police station are recorded – unless the call is to your lawyer.

Obtaining Legal Assistance

In case you are arrested and charged with a crime, you are allowed to get the assistance of a lawyer. You must hire an experienced and well-known criminal defense lawyer or a local public defender to discuss your case. A lawyer can tell you how your case will likely be in court and what you should expect as you navigate the criminal justice system. Hiring an experienced attorney can be the best way to protect your rights and obtain the best possible outcome in your case.


Being arrested can be troublesome and harsh. People often want to get out of jail and think that if they explain their circumstances or cooperate with the police, they will let them go. Police officers can even say something to that effect. Do not try to talk your way or make any settlements about your case without talking to your lawyer. Don't take part in a lineup or do anything else that can cause problems in your case until you see a lawyer. Talk to our attorneys at Rest the case if you need assistance after an arrest.


Who can arrest you?

According to Section 151, all law enforcement officers - such as police officers, county sheriff officers, investigators in an attorney's district or a general's office, and highway patrol officers can arrest you on or off their duty.

Other than a police officer, who can arrest you?

According to the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, apart from police officers, the magistrate or a private person can also arrest you.

When should you see a lawyer?

In case you are arrested for a serious crime, you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible. As they have a better sense of what you should and shouldn't say to officers to avoid being misinterpreted or misunderstood.

When is an arrest warrant used?

Usually, a warrant is required before taking you into custody in your home. But you can be arrested at home without a warrant if fast action is necessary to stop you from escaping, destroying evidence, or endangering someone's life or property.

When can you be released? 

If the officers are convinced that you haven't committed a crime during the questioning, they will give you a written release before a charge is filed. Your arrest will then be considered a detention and not recorded as an arrest.

Who maintains arrest records? 

Local police departments and the State Department of Justice keep arrest records. 

When can an officer search? 

An officer may only search with your consent or a search warrant. However, you have a right to see the warrant before the search begins.

Author Bio: Adv. Neelam Singh has over 9 years of experience in the legal field. She is a first-generation lawyer coming from a defense background. Her specialization is Matrimonial, Civil, Criminal, Consumer & High court practice.