After an Arrest: The First Steps
No one is prepared to be arrested. Most of us grow up assuming that we will never be on the wrong side of the law. After all, if you never break a law to begin with, how could be possibly be arrested? Sadly, police officers can make mistakes, and false allegations can be made. Even if you know that you are a law-abiding citizen, it is very possible you will be facing an arrest one day, and knowing what will happen can help you avoid getting into deeper trouble.
Your Miranda Rights
As you are arrested, the officers must read you your Miranda Rights. These rights have been a required part of an arrest since they were first established in the 1960s. You should be informed that:
- You have the right to remain silent
- Anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of law
- You have the right to an attorney
- If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you
Essentially, what this means is that you do not have to speak to the police, even during an interrogation. You also have the right to an attorney and can call for one the moment you are arrested. However, you should keep in mind that even if the officer who arrested you neglected to Mirandize you, it does not mean you will automatically be released from jail and set free. This is something made up by cop dramas on TV.
In fact, if the police officers do not intend to interrogate you, then they may not read you your Miranda Rights at all.
However, if they do intend to interrogate you but forget to give you the Miranda Warning, then that means any confession you make after your arrest, or any evidence obtained due to that confession, cannot be used in your trial. While the prosecution can still choose to try to convict you, their case will be far weaker, and your chances of being acquitted are much higher.
Holding and Processing
After being arrested and read your Miranda Rights, you will be transported to the local police department. There, you will go through what is often referred to as “processing.” During processing, your name and other identifying information, such as your fingerprints, will be taken and recorded. The officers may elect to do a full-body search if they suspect that you have weapons, drugs, or other contraband on you. A photo, often called a “mug shot,” will also be taken. Sadly, all of this information is made available to the public. However, under certain circumstances, you can have your record sealed or expunged.
Once you have been processed, you will then be placed in a holding cell. These cells are usually located in the police department building and are only meant to be temporary. Convicted criminals are never kept in holding cells, and you will likely only be in one for one to two days.
The Bail Hearing
During the 24-48 hours that you are in a holding cell, you will most likely be granted a bail hearing. During this hearing, a judge will look over your case and determine how high or low your bail should be set, or if you should be granted bail at all. There are multiple factors the judge will take into consideration during your hearing:
- Whether you are a flight risk
- Whether the alleged crime was violent
- Whether there were any alleged victims involved
- Whether you have a criminal history
Once you bail is set, you are free to pay it at any point in order to be released. Keep in mind that your bail will come with specific stipulations, such as staying in the state and arriving at all court hearings on time. If you break these stipulations, it is very likely that your bail will become forfeit, and you will be taken back to jail.
How to Proceed
Once your bail is set, you can either pay it and go home, or you can choose not to pay, and be placed in jail until your trial is over. So, with all of that in mind, how should you proceed after your arrest? Well, first things first, you should immediately contact an attorney. Ideally, you will want to work with someone who has years of experience with the justice system, such as the team at The Bussey Law Firm, P.C. Once your attorney arrives, they can tell you which questions should and should not be answered, and how to best deal with the police.
Most importantly, you should never give any kind of confession or admit to guilt. The police may push you for one during the time you are waiting for your lawyer to arrive. They may threaten you or try to be overly friendly. When this happens, you should keep your Miranda Rights in mind. You are allowed to keep your mouth completely shut.
If you are offered a plea deal, in which you confess for a lighter sentence, do not agree to it until your attorney is there to offer you advice. A plea deal may end up being in your best interests, but it may not be. The police will try to push you into signing this deal, as a signed confession makes their lives much easier. But it is always in your best interest to speak to an attorney before making any such decisions.
If you or a loved one is facing arrest, then you need someone who can help guide you through the process. With years of experience as criminal defense attorneys, we at The Bussey Law Firm, P.C., are prepared to give you the legal support you truly need. To speak with a member of our incredible team, call us at (719) 475-2555 today.