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42. Warning, Arrest and Holding Area

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What Could Happen When You Are Arrested?

The Legal Process, generally

  • The legal system’s terms and mystique may create an impression of complexity and unapproachability.But with study and thought the legal process can be less intimidating.
  • When we understand the steps, the choices, and the effects of those choices, then we can make decisions about the things in which we participate and what we want to avoid.
  • There are many possible levels of commitment.
  • We must individually choose our involvement according to our own situation. Every task is important.


1st step: Warning The Nonviolence pledge you signed requires you to cooperate.

1. Immediately prior to arrest the police will give a warning to the group of demonstrators.

2. They will say which law(s) is (are) being broken and will say that anyone remaining will be arrested.

3. Typical charges may include: disorderly conduct, trespassing, resisting arrest, and obstruction.

4. This is your final moment to make a choice about arrest: to stay and be arrested or to leave.

5. Each individual may be warned after the group has been warned (or not). If you’ve changed your mind, this is your last chance to avoid arrest.

6. Once arrested you have no more choices.

2nd step: Arrest

1. An officer will officially place you under arrest by saying something like: “You are now under arrest. Please proceed to ……. ” Each individual may be warned individually after the group has been warned.

2. He or she will then direct you to the holding area.

You are now under arrest and must stay. The Soulforce pledge requires that we cooperate.


3rd step: Holding

1. A temporary location may be set up by the police to hold your group. It may be in an informal
area, or on a transport bus.

2. Don’t be confused by the apparent informality. You are under arrest and must do exactly as you are told.

3. You are not free to leave the holding location or to interact with others outside the holding area.

4. You will often be handcuffed.


NEXT:  4th step: “Transport”



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