Getting arrested can be a scary situation. Here are the steps to take to protect your legal rights.
Arrested for the first time? Having those handcuffs on you can be frightening. You are likely in a sense of panic. What do you do now? Whom do you call?
First, take a deep breath. Then, gain a sense of comfort knowing that those who have been arrested have three rights:
- Get free legal advice.
- Ask the police to let someone know you have been arrested.
- Review the police department’s Codes of Practice.
Here is what else you should know after being arrested.
You have the right to remain silent, so use it. When it comes to being around police, less is more. Anything you say can be used against you, so just do not say anything. You legally do not have to.
Call an Attorney
If you do say anything to the police, tell them you would like to call a lawyer. Do not think you can handle your case on your own. You need the best defense possible from a criminal defense lawyer.
Attend a Hearing
You will typically see a judge within 48 hours after your arrest. This is considered the arraignment, in which formal criminal charges are filed against you. The judge will make sure you understand your rights. You will then need to enter a plea (guilty, not guilty, or no contest). Discuss this with your lawyer and follow their advice.
The judge will also decide your bail and schedule your next court appearance. If you post bail, you will be released from jail, but will have to return on your court date.
The next step is to attend pre-trial hearings. These are where the prosecution and defense discuss the case. If the defendant is clearly at fault, then the defense may work out a plea bargain and try to get the charges reduced.
If the defendant pleads not guilty and there is no plea agreement in place, then the case will progress to the trial portion. A judge or jury will review the case to determine if the defendant is guilty or innocent. This can last as long as two years, depending on the complexity of the case.
The judge or jury will then reach a verdict. If the person is not guilty, then all charges will be dropped. However, if the person is guilty, they will face sentencing.
This is the state where the judge decides your punishment. It will be based on state laws as well as factors such as criminal records and level of remorse. Punishment could include jail time, fines, community service, counseling, and other penalties.
Contact Our Austin Criminal Defense Lawyers Today
Getting arrested is scary, but what you say and do can be used against you. With the right knowledge about the legal process, you can protect your rights.