What to Do Once You’ve Been Arrested
If you’ve been arrested for a criminal offense—or suspect that you will be arrested—perhaps one of the most important things you can remember is that talking to the police is rarely in your best interests. Of course you will provide the basic information such as your name and address, but before you answer any further questions, it is highly advised that you ask to speak with an attorney first. Meaning, you invoke your right to remain silent and to obtain legal counsel. Specifically, the Miranda Warnings exist for a very good reason, so remain calm and politely decline to answer any further questions until you have had a chance to consult with your attorney. Police officers and prosecutors are trained to gather evidence which as you are already aware, will later be used against you. In many cases rules may be bent or broken in this quest to gain a statement or “break the case.” You may make an entirely innocent comment which is then taken out of context and used to convict you.
Stages of a Criminal Prosecution (Understanding the process)
An investigation is generally mounted when the police have sufficient reason to believe you have committed a criminal offense. Facts are assessed, witness interviews are conducted and evidence is collected against you. A warrant will be issued for your arrest and you will be taken before a judge to enter a plea. The judge will set a bond and the amount will depend on the severity of the charges and the facts of the case.
When it is time for your preliminary hearing, the prosecutor will claim that there is sufficient evidence against you to proceed to trial. Your case may have a few pre-trial settings to make sure all of the evidence is obtained. At this point, should probable cause be established, we will confer with you to determine whether a plea bargain is in your best interests or if you should fight the charges before a jury. It is your decision whether you enter into a plea bargain, but we will make sure you fully understand the alternatives as well as the consequences of the plea.