You always have the right to an attorney paid by the government in a criminal case. You also always have the right to make a phone call to alert a friend, family member, or lawyer that you have been arrested.
You never have to answer any questions – you always have the right to remain silent. This includes questions regarding your immigration status in the United States. If a police officer asks you questions, remain calm and polite but you can tell them you do not want to answer any questions without first speaking to a lawyer.
You do not have to consent to a search of your property before being arrested. If a police officer asks to see the inside of your pockets, remain calm and polite but you can tell them that you do not consent to this search.
You do not have to sign anything without first speaking to a lawyer.
If arrested, or about to be arrested, DON’T:
- Tell your immigration status;
- Make statements about the incident;
- Lie to ICE or the police;
- Carry fake IDs or give a fake name;
- Argue with or get into a physical fight with ICE or the police;
- Run away, or attempt to run away,
from the police.
If arrested, or about to be arrested, DO:
- Stay calm and polite no matter how the officers are treating you or what they are saying;
- Ask for a lawyer immediately. Refuse to speak or sign anything until you have a lawyer present, regardless of how much time has passed;
- Make sure the police can see your hands at all times
If a detainer is placed on you, ICE has 48 hours (not counting weekends and holidays) to come get you once you should be released from local custody. If 48 hours have passed, the state must release you.
Do not take legal advice, or form an opinion of your legal situation, based on what police and ICE officers might tell you. Always consult with a lawyer you trust.
Finally – make sure that other people in your family, household, or community know where you keep important papers. You should always be able to point someone to your place and date of birth, the correct spelling of your name, and your Alien Registration Number. If you have a
prior immigration and/or criminal history, make sure all papers regarding such cases can easily be found and brought to an attorney so that time is not lost trying in building your defense.