What Happens In The First 24 Hours After An Arrest?
What’s going to happen depends on what you’re arrested for, whether you are taken down to the station or in front of a judge. So it depends on the gravity of the situation. If it’s a mere traffic violation, a lot of times they’ll just give you a ticket on the spot. If they take you in for a little more serious traffic violation, like a suspended license, this is jail-able, so they are going to take you down to the police department. Every municipality has their own rules, so let’s say for a DUI, some police departments will take a look at you and say, “Well, it looks like you’re sober enough to me; I’ll let you out on your own signature.”
Sometimes they want the driver’s license and $300; sometimes if the person who’s pulled over gives the cop a hard time, they’ll say, “You know what, we’re going to take you in front of the judge and let him set your bond, and you sit in jail overnight.” So it very much depends on the seriousness of the offense. Obviously, the higher it gets, the more chance you’re going to be in custody until you’re in front of a judge, and then the judge is going to determine what the appropriate bail would be, if they are going to give you any bail at all.
At What Point Should Someone Actually Contact An Attorney?
The problem is you see all this garbage on TV, which isn’t reality, like the cop immediately tells you of your right to remain silent. They don’t tell you that, and they don’t have to tell you that outright when they’re putting the handcuffs on you. That’s a whole different situation. They’re supposed to give you a phone call, but they don’t always do that either. So I’ve had situations where clients have a very serious charge, or they’re investigating a very serious charge, like a shooting or a death, and I’ve had clients held for 72 hours and even longer without access to anyone: no phone calls to tell their loved ones they’re in jail, no calling an attorney, nothing.
Police officers really don’t give a flying leap about whether they are violating your rights on that; not all cops are that way, but for the most part, when they are arresting you, at that point they are trying to elicit from you not only information on the case, but they are trying to get you to incriminate yourself. That’s why it’s important that you immediately tell the officer repeatedly, “I don’t want to talk to you until I talk to my attorney. I am invoking my right to have an attorney present. I am invoking my right to remain silent. I don’t want to talk to you, PERIOD.” That doesn’t make the cops happy because they realize that if you don’t open your mouth and start sticking your foot in it, they might have a hard time proving anything.
They might not be able to tie you to the case whatsoever, so they need you to start confirming facts: “Oh yes, you were with your wife; oh yes, you did have a couple of drinks; oh yes, you did push her.” So you don’t want to talk to them. The first minute you get a chance to say, “I’d like to talk to my attorney,” insist upon it and don’t say anything more except your name and address. That’s the end of it.
What Are The Common Mistakes People Make Following An Arrest?
That’s such a wide open question because there are a hundred different kinds of arrests. I can give you some specific answers; but once you’ve been arrested then released, your case is what it is. The damage is done. So short of cooperating and getting them to agree to do something less, the hand they’re playing has been dealt to them, and there’s not much you can do to mess it up, but a lot of people get out on bond, and the judge gives them bond conditions. If they violate them, they can wind up back in jail before the case is even tried. So you have to be careful with that, but I can’t tell you specifically what you should do and what you should not do.
Obviously, you should find an attorney you feel comfortable with and be honest with him immediately because there’s nothing worse than if your client thinks, “If I lie to my attorney, he’s going to represent me harder, and therefore everything’s going to be fine.” The worst thing in the world for me is saying, “Oh, my client told me these sets of facts,” and then the cop’s like, “Really? Because that’s not what happened. Your client’s lying to you.” Then I look like an idiot. That will make the whole deck of cards fall down that we’re trying to get a case based on.
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