More than 10 million people were arrested in the United States in 2016. But what happens when you get arrested? What rights do you have, and what can you do to improve the situation as much as you can?
Read on to learn everything you need to know about the arrest process.
What Happens When You Get Arrested?
When you’re arrested, the process will vary depending on the severity of your alleged crime. Here’s an outline of what you can expect:
The Arrest Process
The first thing you should know is that an arresting officer must read you your rights. You’ve probably heard the Miranda rights on TV a thousand times, and they start with the words “You have the right to remain silent.”
This is due to Miranda v Arizona which protects you under the fifth amendment.
Once you’ve been taken to the station, the police will fingerprint you, and will also take a mug shot. If you’ve been arrested for a felony or another serious offense, you may have to give a DNA sample, which will usually be taken from your inner cheek.
Your booking officer will take all of your possessions and put them in a safe place so they can be returned to you after you’re released.
Once this has happened, you’ll usually get the chance to use the phone to notify a lawyer, family member, or friend.
You’ll often need to post bail before you can leave. This is a fee that you need to pay which ensures that you’ll return to court on the scheduled date. If you fail to appear, the money that you or a loved one has posted will be forfeited.
If the crime is serious enough that there is no bail, or you can’t afford to pay the bail, you will stay in custody until your first court appearance.
Some states are moving away from cash bail, as it disproportionally affects the poor. This is being replaced by a risk assessment determining whether you will return for your court date.
If you were arrested without a warrant, the prosecution won’t get involved until you’ve been arrested. In this situation, they’ll review your police report and any other information and decide whether or not they’d like to file criminal charges through a complaint.
Once this has happened, your status changes from suspect to defendant.
Your first court appearance is called an arraignment in many states. If you were bailed out, this will usually be at least several days after you were arrested. If you’re still in custody, this will usually happen much earlier.
During this court appearance, you’ll be informed of your charges and notified that you have the right to counsel. This is an opportunity for you to consult an experienced lawyer.
Being arrested is a scary process, and you may feel many different emotions, ranging from anger to panic. It’s a good idea to talk to an attorney early on in the process so you’re aware of your rights and responsibilities every step of the way.
Still wondering what happens when you get arrested? We can help. Get in touch today to learn more.