You have been arrested, either at the scene of a crime or as a result of an arrest warrant. Your life, as you know it, is over.
What do you do now?
Explaining Your Arrest
If you were arrested, it was based on an arrest warrant or probable cause – an officer’s reasonable belief that a crime was committed and that you may have been the person who committed the crime. Upon your arrest, police will take you into custody and likely question you.
Everyone has seen cops on television reading these rights, and even though it seems like it should be a given, sometimes the police make mistakes. Therefore, it is very important to pay attention, and if you have any questions regarding whether police properly advised you of your Miranda rights, you should absolutely discuss the matter with a criminal defense attorney.
Once you are taken into custody, no statements can be used against you unless the police have read you your Miranda rights and you have waived those rights.
Explaining Your Rights
The important thing to note is that you have the right to remain silent AND you have the right to have an attorney present during your initial questioning in custody. You really should assert these rights and, if at all possible, talk with an attorney before ever speaking with police.
Once you are arrested, you have the opportunity to meet with the bail commissioner and post bond. If you cannot post the bond, you may be incarcerated pending a court appearance. If you can post the bond, you will likely remain free while you wait for your appearance at the arraignment.
It is crucial that you interview and consult with criminal defense attorneys between the time you are released on bail and the scheduled arraignment.
Also Read : Do I Need a Lawyer If I’m Charged With a Crime?
What is an Arraignment?
An arraignment is held in court before a judge. At your arraignment in open court, the prosecutor will lay out a formal presentation of the charges against you. Also, you will be advised of your constitutional rights and of the possible penalties you may face.
This court session is also where a judge considers evidence presented by the prosecutor and decides whether there is probable cause to support the charges. The judge may downgrade or dismiss the charges – depending on the available evidence.
You will enter a plea of guilty or not guilty and a date for the next hearing will be scheduled. Although arraignments are generally quick procedures, they are incredibly important in the criminal law process.
Also Read : If Charged with a Crime Choose Your Criminal Defense Lawyer Carefully
What if there is Incriminating Evidence?
Decisions regarding plea deals, and evidence could all have life-altering consequences. Experienced criminal defense attorneys have good working relationships with prosecutors. This can help the negotiation process when trying to reach a deal or plea agreement. It has been shown that prosecutors negotiate much more fiercely with defendants representing themselves and are less likely to cut breaks.
What You Can Expect with an Attorney
Whether it is you or your loved one facing criminal charges, you need to know what to expect. One way to truly understand the process and to make sure you do not make missteps along the way is to hire a reputable, experienced criminal defense lawyer.
Moreover, if you want to take your case to trial rather than negotiate a deal, the process will go exponentially more smoothly—if you are represented by counsel.
Your attorney can help you decide whether going to trial or accepting a plea bargain is best based on the circumstances surrounding your case. Consult with a criminal defense lawyers right away to ensure your rights are being protected.
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