Jan. 11, 2020
If you’ve been arrested, you likely remember the panic and uncertainty that comes with incarceration. Fortunately, understanding the criminal procedures following an arrest can alleviate undue stress on our clients.
Once an arrest is made, the arresting officer is required to read the suspect his or her Miranda rights, which protect the Fifth Amendment right to refuse to answer questions from law enforcement in order to prevent self incrimination. The arresting officer may also conduct a “pat down” search to ensure their own safety and remove any weapons the suspect may possess. More thorough searches are also common following arrests, which can include anything on the suspect’s person as well as anything in his or her immediate surroundings. During these searches, officers are looking for additional weapons, stolen items, illegal drugs, or any evidence of criminal activity. A detailed inventory of the suspect’s possessions will be recorded prior to booking.
Suspects are typically taken in for booking within hours of their arrest. During the booking process, the suspect will be asked basic questions about themselves such as full name, address, and date of birth. Next, they will be fingerprinted and photographed. Some individuals may even be asked to participate in a line-up or provide handwriting samples, depending on the circumstances of their arrest.
Once booking is complete, the suspect’s case is forwarded to a prosecutor who then has 72 hours to file charges against the suspect. The suspect will be advised of the charges against them during their arraignment, at which point they will be able to state how he or she pleads to the charges. Once the defendant has entered a plea, the presiding judge will decide to grant or deny bail. The judge will also use the arraignment to set subsequent court dates in the defendant’s trial.
The length of time between the defendant’s arraignment and trial is dependent on several factors, but usually must take place within 90 days. If the defendant is found guilty, sentencing will commence. If the defendant has remained in custody up to that point, the judge can choose whether or not to apply time served to their sentence.
Facing legal trouble and navigating the court system can be a daunting task. However overwhelming it seems, remember there are laws and processes in place to aid defendants and their families along the way. If you or a loved one need a bail bond, please reach out to one of our licensed bail bond agents today.