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When faced with arrest, it is natural to feel concerned about your well-being and future. While every citizen has rights under the law, even when in police custody, the process can still be highly intimidating.

Law enforcement must treat all people properly to avoid violating their rights. However, you should also be aware of your rights and how to de-escalate a tense situation during the arrest. Here are a few things you can do.

Know your rights

You do not have to speak to the police or answer their questions until you have spoken with a lawyer. In this case, inform the police that you would like legal counsel before proceeding. In the same respect, you do not have to complete any forms or give any statements until a lawyer is present. You can make a phone call from jail, but keep in mind that the police can listen in if you speak with anyone other than your attorney.

Mitigate personal risk

It is important that you follow the instructions provided by law enforcement. Even if you believe they are violating your rights, following their instructions helps protect your personal safety. Resisting arrest can lead to an escalation by the arresting police officer, which may end in tragedy.

Prepare your loved ones

In the event you are aware of an arrest before it actually takes place, make sure your family is well prepared. If you have young children, make plans for a trusted friend or family member to provide care for them while you are gone. Make sure you have phone numbers for your loved ones so you can call them from jail when allowed to make a phone call.

In the event you believe law enforcement violated your rights, you can file a complaint with the proper authorities. You must provide identifying information on the officers involved and the police precinct they work out of. You can also provide evidence to support your claim, such as witness statements and medical records.