Peaceful protests saw a global surge in 2020, with millions marching for equality and change. Unfortunately, though, it is estimated that over 10,000 people were arrested at these events across the United States, many for minor offenses dealing with curfews and blocking roadways.
With so much misinformation about what happens during protests, it's crucial to understand your rights and what to do if arrested.
Know Your Rights
It's important to know that your right to protest is inherently protected in the first amendment of the United States Constitution. Along with this, you are entitled to other protections if placed under arrest; most notably, there needs to be probable cause that a crime is being committed. You cannot be arrested simply for protesting.
You Have the Right to Remain Silent
Any crime drama fan may already have the Miranda Rights memorized, but if you're not fully aware of your rights when being arrested, the first thing to remember is that you have the right to remain silent.
You are not legally required to answer any questions, as anything you say when being arrested can be used as evidence against you if charged with a crime. It's always best to remain calm and wait for an attorney to be present before speaking with the police after an arrest.
You Have the Right to Request an Attorney
Since common law states that you have the right to a trial, you also have the right to request an attorney at any point in the arrest. If you cannot afford one, the state can appoint a public defender to represent you during questioning and in the trial process if you are charged.
It’s also important to know that just because you are placed under arrest does not always mean you will be charged with a crime.
Need Representation? Call (610) 285-1963
Our Pennsylvania attorneys are committed to protecting the rights of protestors. If you or a loved one needs representation after being arrested for exercising your first amendment rights, call (610) 285-1963 or visit our website to schedule a consultation.