We’ve all seen it in movies or on television. An unsuspecting person is out running errands or having fun when they are suddenly arrested by police officers. Usually they skip all of the technical things that happen between a person being handcuffed and that same person sitting in a jail cell. There may come a time when you find police taking you into their custody. Here are some of the things you can expect if you find yourself under arrest.
Before Your Arrest
There are several things that can lead up to or cause your arrest.
With a Warrant If the police suspect you have committed a crime, authorities will appear before a judge and get a warrant for your arrest. This requires probable cause, an affidavit, speaking with a prosecutor, having a judge sign off on the warrant, and filing all of the paperwork with the clerk. They will then attempt to track you down and arrest you to determine your innocence or guilt. Warrants and when they’re required vary from state to state. However, in most non-emergency cases, police will not try to enter your home to arrest you without a warrant.
Without a Warrant You can be arrested without a warrant if police officers feel they have probable cause. If a felony crime suspect is in a public place, an arrest warrant isn’t necessary. If police witness you committing a crime, they can arrest you without a warrant. When a police officer believes they have enough probable cause that you have or will commit a crime, they can detain you.
What Happens When You’re Arrested?
If you see police approaching you to arrest you, there are several steps you can follow to keep the process simple and safe for everyone involved.
If an officer orders you to do something, comply to the best of your ability. Do not argue or become physically erratic. If you haven’t committed a crime, but attempt to keep yourself from being arrested, police may attempt to charge you with resisting arrest. It may also result in being hurt during your arrest.
Don’t run, argue, or fight back. All of these things could cause police to perceive you as guilty, even if you only react out of fear. If you try to talk to officers while they are speaking to you, you may miss out on key information regarding your rights, or the reason for your arrest.
Arrested, Charged, or Detained?
Police can detain you or any suspect for up to 24 hours without filing charges and making an official arrest. They can apply with the courts to hold you for longer, up to 96 hours, if you are suspected of committing a serious crime. The only exception to this rule is terrorism. If someone is suspected of plotting or committing a terrorist act, police can hold them for up to 2 weeks. However, if they cannot provide probable cause to charge you, they must release you. But are arrested and detained the same thing? No. Technically, you can be detained, or held, without being charged with a crime. Officers take this time to gather evidence of a suspect’s innocence or guilt. An arrest involves police officers charging you with a crime. You will then be “booked,” or processed, into the system. During this time, a suspect may be interrogated, or just held while evidence is gathered. Being arrested means being charged with a crime, processed, and awaiting a future trial.
What rights do you have when arrested?
The police advise you of part of your rights when taking you into custody by reciting the Miranda warning. But there are rules police officers have to adhere to while you’re in their custody.
- The Right to Remain Silent This is the first right you’re advised of. The best option is not to speak until you have a lawyer present.
- Anything You Say Can and Will Be Used Against You in Court Whether you plead innocence, threaten the arresting officer, or start singing the last song you heard on the radio, it will be part of the arrest report submitted to the courts if you have to meet with a judge.
- The Right to Speak to an Attorney Legal counsel helps ensure you don’t incriminate yourself, or say anything that would hinder the investigation of your innocence.
- The Right to Have an Attorney Present During Questioning This is to ensure officers don’t abuse their authority or violate the rights of someone in their custody. It also helps suspects of knowing their legal rights during the interrogation.
- If You Cannot Afford an Attorney, the Court Will Appoint You a Public Defender Everyone has the right to an attorney, no matter their fiscal circumstance. This is to ensure that everyone is treated the same under the law, regardless of fiscal means.
But do you have the right to make a phone call when arrested? If police have charged you with a crime and have processed you, then you have the right to complete a reasonable amount of phone calls either at the station, or where you are being held. If it is physically impossible, then officers will make accommodations to the best of their abilities as the means become available.
Can You Be Arrested and Not Charged?
Yes, it is possible. The easiest way to determine if you’ve been arrested or charged is to look at where you are in the arrest process. An arrest is not proof of guilt. After an arrest, the prosecutor is responsible for charging suspects with crimes. If the prosecutor assigned to your case does not believe there is enough evidence to convince a jury of a suspect’s guilt, they can choose to not charge them. If that is the case, the suspect will be arrested and released, but without the court charging them with a crime.
After police process you in to the system, your phone calls have been made, and all paperwork has been straightened out, one of two things will happen. The police will either release you with the knowledge that you will have to appear in court at a later date, or the court will set a date for a bail hearing. The severity of the alleged crime determines which happens. At a bail hearing, the court decides whether or not a suspect will run instead of appearing before the court at the appointed time and date. If the judge decides you’re not a flight risk, they set a bail amount that you can post and potentially be released before the trial date. Suspects in custody can be released at this point, provided the required conditions are met.
Do arrests show up on background checks? Mostly yes. This is one of the reasons companies will ask if a potential employee has ever been arrested before, and if the charges were dropped or not. Courts report arrest records, even if the charges were dropped or the verdict was “not guilty.”
How does bail work?
Bail has to be paid in cash. Most suspects do not have the cash to pay their bail on hand, so they have to rely on family members or friends to get the funds together to post bail. This can cause complications, especially in a place the size of Southern California. Sometimes it’s difficult to locate which police department has your loved one in custody, or their contact information. But if you pay the full bail amount, the court releases you from custody until your hearing. If you are found innocent, the court refunds your bail money to you. If you don’t have the entire amount of bail money, you can go through a bail bondsman. Essentially you pay a percentage of the posted bail amount to the bail bond company, and they act as insurance. They state they will pay the full bail amount if you miss a court date, or are arrested again while out on bail. Bail conditions violations are viewed as roughly the same as probation violations.
If you’re out on bail, stick to the conditions put forward by the court. They could be very strict depending on the severity of the crime. However, violating the conditions of bails means the court can revoke your bail and send you back to jail to wait for your court date.
If you or someone you know need advice involving about their arrest, or information about how to post bail in Santa Ana, CA for themselves or a loved one, contact the professionals of Alvarado Bail Bonds at 888-866-8376.