The Law Offices of Marnie M. Slavin P.C.

Lessons Learned from Reese Whitherspoon’s Arrest

By Marnie Slavin • April 23, 2013 • Filed in: Criminal Law Ranting

Written by Marnie Slavin

Not intended as legal advice.

Reese Whitherspoon and her husband, James Toth, were arrested in Atlanta on April 19th.   Supposedly, Reese hung out of the car yelling at the police officer arresting her husband.  When instructed by the officer to sit down and be quiet, she got out of the car screaming, resulting in her being arrested for Disorderly Conduct.  America’s sweetheart did everything wrong and is now facing criminal charges and humiliation.

What should Reese have done?  Well to start will, never “piss off” a cop!  A good rule of thumb is to always be polite to the guy or gal who holds the handcuffs.

Even if you disagree with the officer’s judgment, do not be disrespectful.  And NEVER try to pull away from the officer.  This is true even if the officer is completely 100% wrong in arresting you.  CNN says that Reese struggled with the officer as he tried to cuff her.  If this officer really wanted, he could have charged her with Resisting Arrest.  Resisting arrest is extremely hard to beat – there is almost never a defense for resisting the officer.  If an officer arrests you, you MUST go willingly and cooperate with the arrest.

Now what does cooperate with the arrest mean?  That means you must provide the officer basic information about yourself.  You cannot refuse to tell the officer your name, address, and birth date; additionally provide license, registration and insurance if you are pulled over when driving.  You also cannot lie.  So you cannot give your brother’s name in an effort to avoid arrest or prosecution.  This is Obstructing Justice and there is almost no defense to that either.

Now with this being said, this is all you really have to say.  You do not need to, nor is it typically a good idea, to tell the officer any information regarding the incident for which you are being arrested.  Police officers may legally lie to you in order to get you to confess.  Typically, these lies come in the form of:

“If you tell me what happened, I will let you go home.  Otherwise, you will go to jail.”

“If you tell the truth, I will go easier on you.”

“If you tell me what happened, I will charge you with a misdemeanor instead of a felony.”

“I am a juvenile officer, my job is to protect your rights.  You can trust me.”

As a general rule, you are better off spending a night in jail than admitting to a crime.  Once you give up your Fifth Amendment right to say nothing, it is very hard for an attorney to take back what you said.  It is usually best if you contact an attorney, prior to making any statement.  And the police must allow you to contact your attorney.

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Really like the article. Too bad about Reese though. When did she turn into Lindsay Lohan?

Even the nice rich people act like they are untouchable.

Kick some butt Reese

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