Today’s tumultuous political climate means more people than ever are taking part in protests and counterprotests. Even if the protest in which you are taking part is a peaceful one, there is a chance you will be arrested. In this worst-case scenario, be ready with these three tips for what to do.
During a protest, you may lose your cell phone or not have access to it after arrest. It’s time to go old school; either memorize or write contact numbers somewhere on your body in indelible ink so your legally guaranteed access to a phone won’t go to waste. Don’t wear expensive jewelry or anything you’re not comfortable with losing. Before you even go out, look at bondsmen, including Montgomery County bail bonds, or wherever you’re located, and consider attorneys. Let your family know what’s going on. If you expect your family to bail you out and hire your attorney it is imperative you discuss it with them beforehand. You may also want to look at bail funds that can help arrested protestors.
The adrenalin rush of doing something you believe in can make it hard to stay quiet, but one of your rights is the right to remain silent for a reason. The easiest way not to incriminate yourself is to be silent. Once you’ve been Mirandized, know that anything you say will be recorded. Provide your name and address if asked, but that’s it. If you are taken in for questioning, don’t believe that you are the one person who has nothing to hide and can defend yourself from the police. Ask for your attorney and answer no further questions.
Know Your Rights
Here are two areas of the law of which you may not be aware. Keep your phone locked. The police may take your phone but they cannot search your phone without a warrant or without consent. Don’t give consent because you’ve been intimidated. On the same note, don’t consent to a DNA swab. DNA tests are not a standard of an arrest. Remember that once you throw something away or leave it behind, it is fair game for DNA testing. Don’t accept a drink, tissue, or anything else that can be used for DNA testing.
Putting your personal freedom on the line for something you believe in is a heroic action. Don’t let your beliefs derail your life. Following these three tips can make a traumatic experience a little bit easier.