Karimian Law Group | What to Do and What not to Do when You get Arrested
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What to Do and What not to Do when You get Arrested

In case you get arrested, here are some general guidelines to follow to avoid getting yourself into even more hot water.

DOs

  • DO call an attorney as soon as you are arrested or know that you are under investigation.
  • DO tell law enforcement that you want an attorney present during any questioning or line-up.
  • DO exercise your right to remain silent. Make sure to tell the police you want to remain silent.
  • DO tell your lawyer the truth. Lying to your lawyer will only hurt your case.
  • DO call an attorney as soon as you are arrested or know that you are under investigation.
  • DO tell law enforcement that you want an attorney present during any questioning or line-up.
  • DO exercise your right to remain silent. Make sure to tell the police you want to remain silent.
  • DO tell your lawyer the truth. Lying to your lawyer will only hurt your case.

DON’Ts

  • DO NOT talk to the police without first speaking to a lawyer. Even if you have nothing to hide and just want to explain the situation, your words could be misconstrued and this could hurt your case.
  • DO NOT talk about your case to anyone except your lawyer. This means do not talk to your friends, family, or cellmates as they could later be forced to testify against you by the prosecution. Once your lawyer is informed, he will let you know if you can talk about your case and to whom.
  • DO NOT try to get the alleged witness(es) or the alleged victim(s) to change their stories.
  • DO NOT resist or flee from the police. This will only cause you more problems and could result in additional charges.
  • DO NOT sign anything, no matter what, without your attorney present.

 

Here is a general run-down of the procedures that are followed upon, and after, arrest:

Arrest

The criminal process begins with the arrest. For the arrest to be constitutional, the arresting agency must have probable cause to believe that a crime was committed and that the person arrested committed the crime. After the arrest, the prosecuting agency will review the police reports and decide whether or not to file charges. It is important to have an attorney at your side during this early stage of the case to advocate against the filing of charges.

Arraignment

The arraignment is the defendant’s first appearance in court. The judge will inform the defendant of his constitutional rights and the charges filed. The defendant will then enter a plea of guilty, no contest, or not guilty. No one should ever enter a plea before speaking to a lawyer; doing so may have devastating consequences on the outcome of the case.

Preliminary Hearing

This hearing is only required when felony charges are filed. There is no preliminary hearing in misdemeanor cases. This hearing is like a “mini-trial” where the prosecutor presents witnesses & evidence to try to prove that the defendant committed the crime(s). Having a lawyer at this stage is vital because this is the first opportunity to question the witnesses, to refute the evidence presented, and to weaken the prosecution’s theory of the case. The defendant has a right to present witnesses and evidence but doing so is not always in his best interest this early in the case. Thus, defendants should consult with a lawyer before making any decisions. Once all the evidence has been presented, the judge will determine if there is enough evidence for the defendant to be held to answer and stand trial. If the defendant is held to answer he will be arraigned a second time. If no plea deal is reached and the defendant pleads “not guilty,” the case proceeds to trial.

Trial

At the trial, the prosecution has the burden to prove that the defendant is guilty of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Based upon the evidence presented, a jury or a judge determines whether the defendant is guilty or not.

Sentencing

If found guilty the judge will schedule a sentencing hearing. It is important to have a qualified attorney advocating for the lowest sentence possible.

 

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