If you or a loved one gets arrested, you likely are unsure what to do, especially if you have never been arrested before. While every case is different, here is a general idea of what to expect when you get arrested and what you should do to protect your legal rights.
You can get arrested on a warrant that a judge has issued after finding probable cause that you committed a crime. However, you also can get arrested without a warrant, often if a police officer witnessed you committing a crime. The arresting officer will place you in handcuffs and read you your Miranda rights. He or she will take you to the local jail and other officers will process you into jail, which usually involves getting your picture and fingerprints taken, along with basic identifying information.
Don’t Talk to Anyone but Your Lawyer
The most important thing to remember at this point is NOT talk to anyone, including police officers, jail staff, or other inmates, about your arrest or your case. The less you say, the better. All too often, people say things during their arrests that prosecutors later use against them at trial. Even the smallest detail can lead to a risk of incriminating yourself. The best policy is for you to just not talk.
Police officers may try to talk to you about your case on the way to the police station, while you’re waiting to be booked in, or while you are being processed. They may ask you questions to get information from you. Your only response should be that you want a lawyer. Even if you have to repeat yourself several times, you should make it clear that you are talking to no one but your lawyer.
Post Bond if You Can
When you are facing minor criminal charges, there likely already is a bond set in your case. If you have enough money with you or a family member can post bond for you, then you can pay the bond and get out of jail right away.
If you don’t post bond, you will stay in jail, either until your initial court hearing, or until 48 hours have passed. After 48 hours are passed, you likely will be released on your own recognizance. This just means you are released without paying a bond, and it is a common occurrence for minor criminal charges.
If your bond is high, your friends or family members may have to post a surety bond. This means that they would pay a certain amount to a bondsman, who then ensures that you show up in court as promised.
Go to Your Initial Hearing
The jail may give you a date and time to appear in court for an initial hearing when you are released or tell you to check with the court each day until they schedule a date and time. If you fail to appear at your initial hearing when scheduled, the judge will issue a warrant for your arrest. You also may face additional charges for failure to appear in a criminal case.
You have the right to have an attorney with you at your initial hearing. In many cases, however, you might not have been able to get an attorney yet. In that case, here is some information you should know about your initial hearing.
At your initial hearing, the judge will read the charges against you, review your legal rights, When the judge asks you to plead guilty or not guilty, you always should plead not guilty. You can always change your plea later, after you have gotten legal advice about your situation.
The court also will set a bond in your case. This bond may be the same that you already paid, or a different amount. So, if you bonded out after your arrest, you might have to pay a higher bond to stay out of jail. If you didn’t pay a bond, but you were released on your own recognizance, then you will either need to pay the bond at that point., or you will go to jail.
Contact Arnold Law Office for Advice
Whenever you, a family member, or a friend are facing criminal charges, you need the advice that only a criminal defense lawyer can give you. The earlier you get legal advice in your criminal case, the better. Otherwise, you might incriminate yourself or waive important defenses by trying to handle a criminal case on your own.
At Arnold Law Office, we know that getting advice right away about what to do in a criminal case can be crucial to a positive outcome in your case. Call us today to learn about your alternatives and decide how to proceed in your case. Call Arnold Law Office today at 765-962-3344 or 866-958-5995 and schedule an appointment about your case.