Know Your Rights

While most people understand they have the right to remain silent, they might not completely understand what exactly gives them that right and if it applies in all circumstances. If you are arrested for a crime, even if you’re innocent, you need to know how to behave and what to say to avoid self-incrimination. If you don’t make the right moves, you could lose your property, and even your NYC / Long Island car lease.

1. Ask for a Lawyer.

First and foremost, if you are arrested, immediately ask for a lawyer. Under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, you have a right to remain silent. This right is exercised by people who are suspected of committing a crime because, as the Miranda Law says, anything you say, can and will be used against you in a court of law. Do not talk to the police or any prosecutors until your lawyer is present. Likewise, do not write or sign any statements until your attorney is present and reviews the document.

2. Ask if the Police have a Warrant.

You also do not have to give consent for a search of your person, belongings, car, or home. If the police want to search any of these places without your consent, they have to get a judge’s court order, called a warrant, to search a particular area. Before they can get a warrant, they need to present the judge with probable cause that you may be hiding something in any of these locations. Without a warrant, they can’t legally search these places, and any evidence they find will likely be null and void.

3. On Parole? You don’t have to waive your right to a preliminary hearing.

Likewise, if you are on parole or post-release supervision, you do nothave to waive or give up your right to a preliminary hearing. In fact, it behooves you not to. If you have a question regarding this right, consult your attorney beforehand.

4. Carry proper forms of identification.

If you think you might encounter law enforcement, it may save you a lot of trouble to carry a proper form of identification, such as a driver’s license or state ID card. This ID can prevent authorities from mistaking you for another person, such as a dangerous suspect or an undocumented immigrant.

5. At Rikers Island Prison Complex? Know that your calls are recorded.

Finally, if you find yourself on the Rikers Island prison complex, you should know that any call you make, including to friends, family, and your lawyer, will be recorded. Do not speak to anyone about your case over the phone, even your legal representative. Wait to talk about your case in person, where there is privacy.

For more information about your rights, or to get started with your case, contact our experienced New York criminal defense lawyer. Robert Tsigler’s experience and assertive personality have gotten his clients many favorable results. Let us see what we can do for you.Contact us at or fill out our online form to schedule a consultation today.

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