Being arrested is bewildering and frightening, especially considering that most arrests happen on-the-spot and are not anticipated. However, by understanding your rights as a U.S. citizen and knowing what will happen if you are arrested, you can be prepared to defend yourself.
You Will Be Taken Into Custody and You/Your Property Will Be Searched
Most people have seen enough TV to know that an arrest involves handcuffs and a ride in a police car. After an arrest, expect that your property and your person will be searched. Police need probable cause or a warrant to search your property before making an arrest. But once you are arrested, officers have the right to check you and your vehicle for contraband and weapons.
You Will Be Booked
Booking is the process by which police obtain more information about you. An inventory of your personal property, including any money you may have on you, will be performed, and you’ll be asked to sign the inventory. You should only sign the inventory if you agree with all of the items found during the search of your person and/or your property. You will also be photographed and fingerprinted before being detained. In some cases, you may be detained for a period of time before you are booked. However, if you are detained without booking for an unreasonable period of time, your lawyer can go before a judge to determine if you’re being held against the law.
Bail Will Be Set and May Be Posted
After you’ve been booked, a judge will set your bail. At that time, you can contact a bail bondsman or a family member to post your bail. Once your bail is posted, you are free to leave. However, you’ll be notified of the charges against you in 48-72 hours. The prosecutor has that opportunity to review the evidence against you and may change your original charge or add additional charges to it. You’ll also have an arraignment to attend, where you will plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest.
At any time during your arrest, you have the right to contact a criminal defense attorney and should do so. It is critical that you have someone on your side with knowledge of the law to help you protect your rights. Call Attorney Jennifer Mouzis today for a consultation at 916-822-8702.