So, what exactly happens when you are arrested? Hopefully, you will never be in this position, but it is always good to know what would happen, just in case. It will help you know your rights so that you can quickly get out of police custody as soon as you can. Interested to know what the process is? Then read on!
Before you can be tried or sentenced, you will need to be legally arrested. The policeman who comes to arrest you will do this. This usually occurs after a police officer has seen you carry out illegal activity, for instance driving while under the influence of alcohol. If the police suspect that you have been involved in illegal activity but have not witnessed it, they may come and search your home. But remember that you don’t need to let them in without a search warrant. Once they arrest you and file charges, it’s time to get in touch with some criminal defense attorneys.
Once you are arrested, you will need to make an appearance at an initial hearing. During this first hearing, a court will decide if you should be released or if you have to make bail. If a bail is required, the court will set the amount according to the severity of the crime and the likelihood that you will flee. If the bail is paid, then you can return home until the next court hearing. If not, you will be required to stay in jail.
The next court hearing will usually be the trial. However, there may be some other smaller hearings in between. During the trial, the prosecution will try to prove that you are guilty without reasonable doubt while your defending lawyer will try to prove your innocence. A jury will be left with the final decision, and the court judge will decide on your sentence if you are found guilty. During the trial, witnesses will give their accounts of the events, and other pieces of evidence will also be shown to the jury to help them make their decision.
Your final sentence is up to the judge who hears your case. Some judges prefer to make their sentence after reading reports from probation officers. These reports detail the defendant’s social and criminal history and are used to help inform the judge’s decision. Even though some crimes come with mandatory sentencing, a few judges will still use their discretion and could give alternative sentences. If more than one sentence is given, it is up to the judge as to whether they are given consecutively or concurrently.
No matter your sentence, you will always have the right to appeal it. However, you will only be able to appeal if you can make a case that errors of law have been carried out. A successful appeal can help to overturn or reduce your conviction and sentence.
You shouldn’t have to worry about ever getting arrested but, if you do, at least you now know what would happen!