Criminal Law

Your Rights in the Arrest Process

Posted by on Jun 10, 2015 in Criminal Law | 0 comments

Most people will never experience being arrested first-hand, and that is a good thing. However, if you ever do find yourself in a sticky situation, it would be good to know what to expect, and what your rights are at each step.

Generally, the criminal process begins when a police officer detains you for questioning. This is a stop if you are not moved to another location, not an arrest. The police officer has the right to question you if they have a reasonable suspicion that you have broken the law in some way. At the same time, you have the right to refuse to answer any questions, or to consent to a search of your person or effects. If the police officer has probable cause for a search, he or she may do so anyway, but in case there is no probable cause, you have it on record that you did not consent to it. This can get any evidence the officer may find inadmissible in court.

If the officer believes that you have violated the law, you may be put under arrest. You may also be arrested if there is an outstanding warrant in your name. At that point, the officer should give you a rundown of your constitutional rights, such as your right to an attorney. It is important that you do not waive your right to legal representation, because the law is seldom black and white. You may be giving up more than you think.

According to the website of Kohler Hart Powell, SC, once you are under arrest, you will be taken into custody. You should be able to make whatever phone calls you want to your attorney, friends, or family members to let them know what happened, and not just the one phone call beloved of movies. It is always important that you remember your rights throughout the process despite the mental stress that you might be undergoing.

You cannot be held in custody indefinitely without being charged. This is the purview of the prosecutor, not the police. The time limit varies, but the prosecutor generally has up to 72 hours to bring charges against you. Your lawyer can ask for your release after that, or if the prosecutor decides not to press charges, you can be released earlier. If charges are brought against you, you will be booked, which means having your fingerprints and picture taken for the record, and your personal effects taken. At each step, your criminal defense lawyer will be there to protect your rights.

Read More