Your best ally in a criminal defense is yourself. You hold a great deal of power, regardless of how you might feel if you were arrested — regardless of what town or state representatives might say or imply.

This power comes in the form of your civil rights. They could protect your future, but only if you protect them. Here are some of the most important things about rights that we wish everyone knew.

Everything you say and do is permanent

You are probably familiar with the situation of an arresting police officer reading off a list of rights. What might not be immediately clear from that list is that everything related to your arrest would be a matter of record.

From the point of your arrest and possibly before, officers might record you. They could use events on those recordings later on to strengthen a prosecutors case.

Arresting officers are not on your side

No matter how compassionate they may be or how beneficial of an offer they seem to present you, police and prosecuting attorneys do not have any ethical or legal obligation to protect your civil rights. All they have to do is avoid violating them.

It is entirely likely that officials will make every effort to convince you to forfeit your rights and weaken your defense. They probably have more experience in these matters than you, and you should not underestimate their intelligence or negotiation skills.

Prosecutors and police might omit information

As an arrestee, you might find yourself the target of various tactics designed to weaken your case. One of the most convincing is omission. Make sure that you have all of the relevant facts before you make any type of decision.