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What Happens After You're Arrested and How I Choose an Attorney

Preface

Before we get into what happens after you're arrested, let's briefly talk about before the main event. I often get calls from people who say "I just got a call from Detective _____, who wants me to come down to the station and speak with him to get my side of the story. I've already made the appointment, I'm going down at 3:00 P.M. today, I figured I'd give you a call before then to see what you think."

Thereafter ensues a fairly straightforward discussion regarding the reasons why this may not be a good idea. Without going into detail, suffice it to say that once a crime is reported, one of the missions of a detective is to gather evidence against the alleged perpetrator.

By the time the detective is calling you and saying he would like to chat, it is likely that he has already formulated probable cause that a crime was committed and he is now trying to see whether he can either have the subject (you) admit to some or all of the allegations or make a statement that is provably untrue (a lie), which is almost just as good as a confession.

Since most people are scared when they walk into the police station to be interrogated and they will do anything to avoid being arrested, they will start trying to talk their way out of the situation or excuse their actions and many times end up making the case against them stronger.

Since they often don't have any idea what evidence the detective already has gathered, they are in danger of making a statement which can be proven to be a lie or in conflict with other witnesses. Finally, there is the problem of whether the investigator will accurately report the interview. Many times I have clients say after reviewing the arrest complaint "I never said that." Of course each case is different, but it is always wise to speak to an attorney before you start making statements to the police.

The Arrest

Often times, an arrest does not take place at the time of the alleged crime, so it can catch you off-guard. You may be contacted by a detective and asked to come to the police station ostensibly to discuss a matter, only to find out that after the discussion you are placed under arrest (which is what the detective intended all along). It is important that you try to take steps to minimize the inconvenience caused by the arrest and disruption to your life and the life of your family. Here are some things to consider if you are arrested.

What May Happen After You're Arrested

If you are arrested and charged with a crime, expect to be handcuffed by police. Occasionally, this does not happen, but expect that you will be placed in custody of law enforcement immediately. In unusual situations, you may be called to come into the police station on your own for an arrest, but this is not the norm. If an arrest is imminent, an experienced attorney can many times work out a surrender date and location.

After an arrest you will also want to keep the following in mind:

  • You will be interviewed by a police officer for your "pedigree" information, or your name, address, social security number, etc.
  • Prepare that your personal items, such as clothing, jewelry, and anything in your pockets will be taken from you. These items will be stored and given back to you upon your release. You may receive a voucher with a number to identify how to retrieve your belongings. If you have any illegal contraband on your possession, you may be charged with additional crimes.
  • Expect to be fingerprinted and photographed if you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony.
  • If there are outstanding issues such as a warrant or unpaid tickets, you may be required to spend additional time in jail or post an additional bond in order to dispose of these pending matters.

6 Things to Consider During and After an Arrest

  1. Do not run from police or resist arrest in any way, especially with physical force. This may result in additional charges against you. It is always better to be polite and cooperative. Most police officers are professionals and a good attitude (although you're under stress) will help at any subsequent bond hearing.
  2. Make sure you provide the police with your real name. Do not give a false identification.
  3. Do not let the police search your home or car without a warrant.
  4. Do not talk to friends about your arrest. You never know who may be asked to testify against you.
  5. Upon contact with police do not answer questions regarding the alleged allegations, but let them know that you want an attorney. Remember, you have a right to remain silent and your silence cannot be used at any trial against you (the jury will not hear about it). Investigators are experts at extracting statements and may say or do things that cause you to be intimidated or feel like if you don't give them a statement things will go worse for you. Don't fall into this trap.
  6. Do not get in more trouble than you may be in by talking to anyone involved in the case, especially the victims or witnesses. Only speak to your attorney about the case.

If you are arrested and charged with a crime, it's critically important that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. Your attorney can advise you on the best way to handle your case in order to ensure a favorable outcome.

HINT: From time to time, I am asked to look for a criminal attorney for one of my clients in a foreign jurisdiction. In determining whether or not an attorney is experienced, I skip any statements he makes about himself, but look to his/her background. I generally look for former prosecutors or public defenders and a background of activities, which evidences competency i.e., law professor, former judge, or prosecuting attorney, etc., as well as references by other individuals.

References:

Ten Things Not To Do If Arrested. (n.d.). Retrieved June 15, 2017, from http://www.freeadvice.com/resources/articles/arrest_donts_dinday.htm

(n.d.). Retrieved June 15, 2017, from http://www.legal-aid.org/en/ineedhelp/ineedhelp/criminalproblem/faq/whatcaniexpectifiamarrested.aspx

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