How to Avoid Getting Arrested
There are some important tips to keep in mind in order to avoid getting into legal trouble. Below, we discuss them in greater detail:
Don’t Smoke Marijuana in Public
Even if you live in a state that has decriminalized marijuana, or legalized the medical and/or recreational use of marijuana, remember that smoking in public is a very bad idea. If you do, you risk being arrested. Keep in mind that police officers are notorious for waiting outside of bars, etc. during the holidays; specifically waiting to catch people engaged in activities like these.
That Applies To Driving Impaired
Remember that in no state is it legal to drive impaired, even if you have a prescription for medical marijuana.
Silence Is the Best Policy
Remember that you have civil rights protections when it comes to search and seizure. It seems like police all too frequently stop people and ask if they can look in their bags, especially during the holidays. Keep in mind that by no means do you have to allow a police officer to look in your bag, or hand it over to them. Police need probable cause to arrest you, and only if they arrest you can they then check your bag (once they have a warrant at the precinct or as part of an inventory search).
Of course, this always involves a cost-benefit analysis; if you are sure there is nothing potentially incriminating in your bag, you could always save yourself the hassle and allow them to look, but you might be surprised at what is actually considered to be illegal.
This same reasoning applies to searching your car, glove compartment, trunk, etc. during a traffic stop. You do not have to consent to any searches. The police are required to have a reasonable basis to believe that you are hiding something illegal in the area in which they wish to search in order to conduct that search. Keep in mind that they can conduct a search without a warrant if, for example, they see something of concern (such as marijuana or something else that looks like drugs on the seat next to you), but without that, they have no right to conduct a search of your car or an area within it.
Know What Is Illegal to Have on Your Person Where You Are
Keep in mind that states vary regarding what is and is not legal to carry on your person, such as guns, knives, Tasers, etc.
Handing Off Your Cell Phone
If you are stopped and arrested, make sure that you hand your cell phone (and any other valuable items) to a friend, as it could otherwise be seized and searched, and you will lose access to it. Also refuse to make any statements until you speak with your lawyer.
Florida and Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyers
If you live in Florida or Massachusetts and need legal advice on any criminal or civil justice issue, do not hesitate to contact us today.