What To Do After Your Arrest In Virginia
Norfolk, VA criminal defense lawyers explain the process
If you have been arrested for a crime in Virginia, it’s important to understand what to do. The steps you take immediately after being arrested can often make a big difference in what happens months or even years down the road.
Our Norfolk, Virginia criminal defense attorneys at Welch & Wright, PLLC know. That’s because our legal team routinely helps people charged with serious crimes in the Hampton Roads area and throughout Virginia.
As experienced trial lawyers, we know how challenging courtrooms can be when it comes to legal cases in Virginia involving criminal charges. So before your case gets that far, here’s some advice on what to do after your arrest. And most importantly, contact our law firm as soon as possible to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our attorneys.
Steps to take after being arrested in Virginia
Being arrested can be a stressful situation. This is especially true if you have never been arrested before. Knowing what to do afterwards can be confusing, especially since the circumstances of one arrest can be very different from another one. But in general, some of the steps you should take include:
- Don’t panic – Having a police officer or Virginia State Police arrive at your house, workplace or another location can be overwhelming. Try to stay as calm as possible. The more you panic, the more likely you are to make decisions you will probably regret later.
- Keep hands visible – Make sure the arresting police officer can see your hands at all times. That way, the police officer will feel safe and there won’t hopefully be any misunderstanding or confusion.
- No sudden movements – If you need to move, do so slowly, and communicate to the police officer what you are doing. Sudden movements can alarm police officers and may result in police misunderstanding what you are doing.
- Tell the police officer you have a gun if you are armed – If you have a firearm on your person or nearby, tell the police officer right away that you have a concealed weapon or that there’s a firearm nearby. Failure to do so can lead to confusion and possibly even additional criminal charges.
- Be polite – Throughout your arrest, be polite and cooperative when speaking to the arresting police officer. If you are rude or obnoxious, you will likely only make things worse with the arresting police officer0, and this could and usually does have a negative effect on the outcome of your case.
- Follow officer’s instructions – Whatever the arresting police officer tells you to do during your arrest, follow their instructions word for word.
- Only speak when spoken to – Unless the arresting police officer asks you a question, don’t say anything to them. Anything you say can later potentially be used as evidence against you in court.
- Keep statements brief – Throughout your interaction with police, keep your statements brief. Short one-word answers like “Yes, Sir” or “No, Ma’am” are perfectly acceptable in many cases. The less you say in most cases, the better.
- Provide only basic information – When the police officer asks for basic information – such as your name and address – answer those questions. Also make sure to provide the officer with requested documentation, such as your driver's license or concealed carry permit for your firearm. But otherwise, exercise your right to remain silent.
- Don’t discuss arrest in jail – If police transport you to a police station and place you in police custody, don’t discuss your arrest with anyone else in jail. The only person you should discuss the arrest with is your lawyer.
- Write down what happened – As soon as possible, write down everything you can remember about your arrest or interaction with the police. For example, did they read you your legal rights if they arrested you? Such details can help build a stronger legal case on your behalf.
- Call a lawyer – The sooner you have a Virginia criminal defense attorney handling your case, the better. Your lawyer can advise of your legal rights and deal directly with the police on your behalf. Experienced lawyers know the law and know how to successfully navigate through Virginia’s legal system.
Make our law firm your first call. Contact us
The clock is running after your arrest in Virginia. The legal process can move fast. And the longer you wait to respond, the harder it often becomes to find critical evidence that can strengthen your legal case.
Make our law firm your first call. Contact us to learn more about your legal options. Schedule a free case evaluation with one of our Norfolk, VA criminal defense lawyers. We can answer your questions, explain your options, and get right to work developing a strategy that addresses your specific legal needs.
Welch & Wright, PLLC – we’re focused on winning your case, on your terms.