Home > SuperTips > Legal Help > When Someone is Arrested
Ogle, Elrod & Baril PLLC
Dependable SSI Lawyers. Call Our Law Firm 24/7 for an Appointment.

Master Collection Professionals
No Collection: No Fee: Free Attorney Demand Letter: Call Now!

Local Attorneys in your area

Bankruptcy Attorneys
Local Bankruptcy Attorneys in your area

Criminal Law Attorneys
Local Criminal Law Attorneys in your area

SuperTips Categories

Share This:

When Someone is Arrested

Personal Injury Attorneys
Local Personal Injury Attorneys in your area

Being arrested can be frightening. After being arrested, you will find yourself involved in the criminal court system. Depending on the situation, this means that an arrest could potentially lead to a criminal trial and the imposition of penalties up-to-and-including jail time. If you have broken the law and suspect you may be arrested, or if you have been arrested, it is best to know what to expect and to understand what happens when someone is arrested.

When Can You Be Arrested

You can be arrested any time you break the law. You can only be arrested for violating criminal laws. You cannot be arrested or breaching a contract or for a private dispute with another party, unless your actions also violate a criminal law. Although you can be taken to court for a private dispute, this type of trial would be called a civil trial and not a criminal trial.

You do not need to know that you are breaking the law in order to be arrested. Ignorance of the law is not a defense to a crime. This means that if you do something illegal, even unknowingly, you can find yourself the subject of an arrest warrant.

If you are caught in the commission of a crime, you can be arrested immediately. If you commit a crime and are not caught in the act, you can be arrested only when a judge issues a warrant for your arrest. A judge will issue a warrant for your arrest when the police have established a sufficiently strong case to suggest that you committed a crime.

A state or federal prosecutor must present the police's evidence to a judge and convince the judge that it is reasonable to believe you may have committed the crime. You are not given the opportunity to defend yourself at the hearing where the judge issues an arrest warrant; your opportunity to speak will come later.

What Happens When You Are Arrested

When you are arrested, the police will put handcuffs on you. They will read you your Miranda Rights, which include the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney who will be provided by the court if you cannot pay. You must invoke your right to an attorney. If you do not formally request an attorney, the police can question you without an attorney present.

When you get to the police station, you will be "booked" or entered into the system. During this process, your personal belongings are seized and you are photographed and fingerprinted. You are then placed into a holding cell to await your arraignment.

Your arraignment is the first opportunity you have to speak on your own behalf. You, and your attorney, if you have elected to employ an attorney, will go before a judge. The judge will inform you of charges pending and you will be able to plead guilty or not guilty. If you plead guilty, sentencing is generally immediate. If you plead not guilty, a trial will be scheduled.

If a trial is scheduled, you will either have to remain in jail until the date of the trial or you will be required to post bail. Bail is available only for certain crimes, and only if you are not considered a flight risk. If you are arrested for a serious crime, such as first-degree murder, and/or the court feels as though it is likely you will go into hiding before the trial, bail may be denied. In other cases, for minor crimes, you can petition the court to release you on your own recognizance. This means that you will be released simply on the basis of your word that you will not flea before the trial.

The amount of bail is generally determined by the nature of the crime you committed, the extent of your financial resources, and the likelihood that you will "skip the charge" or try to run. In some cases, there will be other conditions set as a prerequisite to your bail, i.e. you may need to surrender your passport, and you will generally have to agree not to leave the vicinity of the city. You can either post bail from your personal funds, or go to a bail bondsman to post your bail.

Hiring An Attorney

When you have been arrested, it is usually advisable to consult with a criminal attorney. A criminal attorney can guide you through the arrest process, helping you determine whether you should negotiate a plea agreement or go to trial. A criminal attorney can also help make a case for bail, make important pre-trial motions to prepare for trial, and help you prepare for a criminal trial. Being arrested for a crime can potentially lead to a loss of freedom and a permanent criminal record, and the potentially serious nature of these penalties suggests that hiring an attorney is essential.

Find local Legal Resources