Criminal Law 101: What the Arrest Process Looks Like

The phrase, “You are under arrest,” is never something you want to hear. But unfortunately, getting arrested happens, and regardless of the reason – whether you’re arrested during the alleged commission of a crime or at some other time under suspicion of one – there’s never going to be a time when you feel fully prepared. However, one of the most important things that you can do is to learn as much as you can about the process and to make sure you know your rights. So, what happens? What can you expect? Keep reading for a brief overview of what it’s like to get arrested in Florida under the state system.

Before and During Arrest

First, it’s important to note that police officers can’t legally simply arrest anyone they feel like arresting. They must have enough information – or, probable cause – that you did, in fact, commit the suspected crime before they can move in for the arrest. Often, future defendants might not have any idea that they are being investigated for a crime at all.

When the time comes for an officer to place you under arrest, your criminal case can begin in a couple of different ways. If like we mentioned above, the officer witnessed you committing a crime or a pre-arrest investigation wielded enough evidence to warrant an arrest, an officer would likely come to arrest you in person,  in the first instance, or seek a warrant for your arrest in the second. Sometimes, if represented by counsel, your lawyer may be able to arrange your self-surrender which may not only avoid the arrest at an inconvenient time but also lead to a much more modest bond or even a Notice to Appear, which is just another way of saying that they sent a notice that provides a date and time for you to appear in court.

After Arrest

Once you have been arrested or turned yourself in following notice of a warrant for your arrest, you will be “booked” – which means you will be taken into custody at the police station, get photographed, fingerprinted, and will be asked to provide some general identifying information. Once you have been booked, it’s very important to remember your rights. Not only do you have the right to know what the charges against you are, but you have the right to an attorney and always the right to remain silent.

After the arrest, if you are released on some time of bond or other pre-trial releases, you will be arraigned in court or your attorney may file a written plea of not guilty on your behalf. It’s important to remember that if you are taken into custody after booking and not released, then you must be brought for a first appearance hearing within 24 hours. At the first appearance, you generally will be able to argue for your pre-trial release. Later, you will have an arraignment which basically just means the stage at which you plead guilty, not guilty or no contest to the charges against you. It also dictates the course your case will take. If you plead not guilty, a date for trial will later be set and you will have the right, if you so choose, to receive discovery (the process to learn about the state’s case), and in due course the right to a jury trial in most instances.  Alternatively, either at the arraignment or later, you may choose to negotiate a non-trial disposition by way of a guilty or no-contest plea. Of course, sometimes the state will dismiss the charges either because of a successful pre-trial motion filed by counsel or a myriad of other technical reasons to obtain a dismissal.

Contact an experienced criminal law attorney.

If you or a loved one have been arrested or have been notified of a warrant for your arrest, it’s essential that you speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney right away. At Weisberg Kainen Mark, PL, we specialize in helping defend our clients’ rights in criminal cases, so please don’t hesitate to reach out. Contact us today!

The following two tabs change content below.

Weisberg Kainen Mark, PL

As experienced trial lawyers with a passion for justice, our firm provides clients with compelling advocacy, attorney availability, and creative solutions to your tax or criminal law matters.

Latest posts by Weisberg Kainen Mark, PL (see all)