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Criminal Legal Information  

If you are Arrested

  1. You have the right to remain silent. Do not give explanations, excuses, or stories. Save your defense for when you are in court. Tell the police nothing but your name and address.

  2. You have the right to have a lawyer. If you can not afford to hire a lawyer, you have the right to a free lawyer. Ask to see a lawyer immediately. Never talk to the police without a lawyer present. Do not make any decisions about your case without talking to a lawyer.

  3. You have the right to make phone calls. When you are arrested, you are entitled to make phone calls within the local area to a lawyer, bail bondsman, a relative, or any other person. It is a good idea to call a relative or friend first who can make other calls for you.

  4. You have the right to appear before a judge on the next court day for a hearing on release on bond or without bail. You may ask the judge to lower your bail or to be released "on your own recognizance" (without bail). Don't hesitate to present to the judge your reasons why you should not remain in jail pending trial, even if you do not have a lawyer yet.

Your Rights and the Police

One of the building blocks of a democratic society is an educated citizenry. If citizens do not know their legal rights and how to enforce them, they will be taken advantage of. Ignore your rights and you run the risk of losing them.

The police-citizen encounter is a very dramatic contact with "the government." All citizens should know how the Constitution works and what rights all citizens have.

Rather than "reinvent the wheel," read some vital information entitled, "Your Rights if Questioned, Stopped or Arrested by the Police," provided through the Ohio State Bar Association Web site.

These are excellent introductions to a complex subject matter.

  1. Never give up your legal rights!

  2. Do not talk your way out of trouble!

  3. Save your breath for your lawyer or the judge.

  4. You do not have to give consent to be searched; if arrested, plead not guilty; apply for a public defender or a lawyer, or contact SLS.

  5. Your have nothing to lose but your legal rights!

You can also find useful into at
Click into "Self-Help Law Centers" and select "Criminal Law" under the Topics.

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Last updated: Fri. Nov-17-06, 14:57
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