You’re Under Arrest! — Now What?
Although you may be confused, scared or angry at first, if you have been placed under arrest or have been asked to go to the police station for questioning in a crime, you should contact a criminal defense lawyer immediately. Criminal defense lawyers know what your rights are and how you should handle your arrest.
A qualified defense attorney will advise you on your rights so you don’t get caught off guard by police interrogation tactics. This legal advice alone could protect your freedom. After arrest and bail, you will be arraigned and assigned a court date. The US Court System is a very complicated justice system and you will need an attorney that is well versed in your state laws to argue your case. The following topics may help you understand the criminal justice process if you have been charged with a crime.
Severity of Criminal Charges
You could be charged with an infraction. An example of an infraction could be a noise violation. The punishment of an infraction can not be jail time, only fines, the loss of your license or other personal liberty restrictions, excluding jail. You can not go to jail for an infraction. There are times in negotiations between your criminal defense attorney and the prosecutor of your case will reduce a greater charge (felony or misdemeanor) to an infraction with an admittance of guilt. If you are charged with a Misdemeanor, the punishment is more severe. A misdemeanor can carry a jail sentence (up to a year in jail) and large fines. If it is your first offense and you are convicted, the best case scenario is you are offered probation and a hefty fine. Being charged with a felony is the most serious criminal charge that can be brought against you. If you are convicted of a felony you may be sentenced to jail time in State Prison.
How to Handle the Police looking for you
If the police are looking for you or have called you directly in relation to a crime, it is in your best interest to talk to a lawyer before you speak with the police. Although you have not been placed under arrest, anything you say to the police detectives over the telephone or casually in person can be used against you. Whatever you do, do not lie or tell mis truths to the police thinking that it can not be used against you. Everything can be used against you in the court of law if you have not been placed under arrest.
If you are in Police custody, it is most likely that the Police will read you your Miranda rights. If you are read the Miranda rights, everything you say can and most likely will be used against you in a court of law. At this point, it is most likely in your best interest to give the police officers your name and address and request to speak with a lawyer. After this, do not say anything until you speak with a lawyer.
This article should shed some light on what to expect if you are detained by the police or placed under arrest. Getting arrested is a horrible experience than can only get worse if you do not have an advocate fighting for you. If you have been arrested, contact a criminal defense attorney immediately. It is in your best interest as your very personal freedom is in jeopardy.