What Should I Do If I’m Arrested During a Protest?

Arrested During a Protest?NBC 5 in Dallas recently reported on an incident in North Carolina where dozens of demonstrators were arrested during a protest. Reportedly, prior to their arrest, the protesters, who consisted of health care workers, clergy, doctors and others, were taking part in a nonviolent demonstration against North Carolina lawmakers’ refusal to expand Medicaid.

As part of the demonstration, the protesters marched through the hallways of the North Carolina Legislative Building. They ended their march outside of the offices of Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore.

The protest was broken up when members of the group, which included the head of the North Carolina NAACP, were arrested. Those who were arrested had their wrists tied together with zip-ties as police led them out of the building. The protesters who were taken into custody have been charged with second-degree trespassing.

What If I’m Arrested During a Protest?

If you are arrested while participating in a nonviolent protest or demonstration, you should not resist arrest or attempt to evade arrest. If you are arrested, you have the right to ask why you are being arrested.

Other than asking why you are being arrested, you should ask for a criminal defense lawyer immediately and then invoke your right to remain silent. That means do not try to explain yourself or make excuses. Bottom line, do not say or sign anything or make any decisions until you have spoken with your criminal defense attorney. You will have the right to a phone call, and if you use that call to contact a lawyer, the police will not be allowed to listen.

How far do you think demonstrators should be allowed to go during a nonviolent protest?


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