If You Are Accused, from Life in the USA: The Complete Guide for Immigrants and Americans

Life in the USA is a complete guide to American life for immigrants and Americans. All materials on this site Copyright © Elliot Essman 2014. All rights reserved.    Home    Back    Next

Life in the USA
Everyday Life
Personal Safety

If You Are Accused
If you are arrested by the police, be aware that you have the exact same rights as an American citizen or permanent resident (even if you are an illegal alien) and that the arresting officer must verbally inform you of those rights:

  • You have the right to remain silent (and you should remain silent until you are represented by a lawyer).
  • You must be told that anything you say can be used against you in court.
  • You must be clearly informed that you have the right to be represented by an attorney, and that the attorney can be present during your testimony.
  • If you cannot afford a lawyer, the government must appoint one to represent you.

If you are abused or beaten by law enforcement officers or if you think you have been mistreated in any way, there are many people in the government, public service organizations, and the media who will want to know about it so they can help you. The United States has its problems, but in no other country on earth are the rights of accused persons as extensive.
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