What Happens Next After An Arrest? What To Know
It can be of help for those arrested to know what is about to happen after an arrest. For most people, being arrested is a shocking and confusing occurrence. Not many have experience in what happens next so read on and find out what will happen after you are handcuffed and taken to the police station.
Booking: Being booked into jail can be a humiliating experience regardless of how many times you've been through it. Usually, you are searched and provided with a jail uniform to wear. You are photographed (the mug shot), fingerprinted, and entered into the jail computer system. You may be allowed to make a phone call. That is when you call your loved one and have them contact a lawyer for you.
Arraignment: This meeting is your chance to take care of several important tasks. While some arraignments take place in person, many are done via video before a judge. This judge may or may not be the same judge that hears your case when the time comes. However, they are in charge of a very important issue at the present and that is bail. If you are not offered bail, you must remain in jail until your case is resolved. Unfortunately, that could take many months given how crowded the court calendars can be.
Bail is based on the defendant's criminal record and the crime of which they are accused. Bail, however, is a lot more challenging to obtain if the crime is a felony, particularly a violent felony. If you are denied bail at the arraignment, speak to a criminal defense lawyer about it. Your defense attorney can make a case for your release based on your ties to the community, your employment, and more. If you are offered bail, your lawyer can also make a case for a bail reduction based on the same factors.
Your charges are officially read to you at the arraignment as well and you are given the opportunity to enter a plea. Keep in mind that your charges can change as time goes on. They can be added to if an investigation finds more to charge you with. They can also be reduced in some cases as a result of a plea bargain.
You may plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest. Regardless of how you might be feeling or the circumstances of your arrest, plead not guilty. If you have a lawyer at the arraignment, they will undoubtedly suggest that you plead not guilty. The not-guilty plea is common and expected at this point in the process. You can always change your plea later.
Speak to a criminal defense attorney if you have not already done so.