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What Happens after a Drug Arrest

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Once a person has been arrested on a drug charge, they will be booked into the jail and then they will attend an arraignment for the drug arrest charges and a bail hearing; when the bail has been set the defendant is free to leave after they have paid their bail.

Booking for a Drug Arrest

After a drug arrest, a defendant is brought to a local jail for booking. During the booking process, the defendant’s picture and fingerprints are recorded and run through a state and nationwide database to check for any outstanding warrants; the defendant is also searched and receives a medical evaluation. The booking process can take anywhere from a few hours to an entire day depending on how many arrests came in that day.

Drug Arrest Arraignment and Bond Hearing

After a defendant has been booked, they have to wait in jail for their arraignment and bond hearing. At the arraignment the defendant is read all of their rights and asked to plead guilty or not guilty. If a defendant was able to hire a lawyer the lawyer will be present at the arraignment; if a defendant cannot afford a lawyer the defendant can request a public defender.

The arraignment and bond hearing may occur at the same time, but if a defendant cannot arrange to hire a lawyer they may need to wait until a public defender can make an appointment for the bond hearing. At the bond hearing, the prosecutor will ask the judge for a specific amount of bail – and the defendant’s attorney may argue for no bail or a lesser amount – and the judge will rule on the bail.

Drug Arrest and Bail

For minor drug arrests, the bail will often be very low and the defendant may be able to pay the entire bail amount – the bail will be returned to them after they appear for their court hearing. For felony drug arrests, or repeated arrests, the bail is often quite high and the defendant may need to use the services of a bail bond company to make their bail. If the drug arrest charge is extremely severe, or the defendant is considered a flight risk, the judge may refuse to set a bail; in this instance, the defendant will have to wait in jail until their court hearing.

*The information in this article does not constitute legal advice. Please contact a legal professional in your local area for the best up-to-date and accurate legal advice.

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