Being arrested can be a very scary experience. You might be worried about a criminal record, if you will be charged with a crime, and how this will affect your future in general.
Understanding the criminal justice system will only work to your advantage. Here are some things you need to know about being arrested and being charged with a crime.
You Can Be Arrested On Probable Cause, But This Doesn't Mean You Have Actually Been Charged
Many times when people are arrested, it is because the police believe them to have done something wrong, but at this point, the person who was arrested is only a suspect. This means that once you are arrested, you will not necessarily be charged with a crime. Instead, they will hold you for a certain amount of time, usually between 48-72 hours. While you are in a holding cell, the state will do everything that they can to gather evidence about you. If they can find enough evidence to charge you, you will get charged in that time frame. If they cannot find a reason to charge you, then they have to let you go. If you are released, your record may show that you were arrested, but you will have no criminal record because there was no formal charge.
Once You Are Arrested You Should Get A Lawyer
Some people make the mistake of thinking that they should wait until they have formally been charged with a crime to hire a lawyer. This can be very dangerous. As soon as you are read your Miranda rights, which are that anything that you say can be used against you in court, you should not speak without a criminal lawyer, like those at Rutter and Sleeth Law Offices, present. You have a right to a lawyer, so even if you can't afford one, you will be appointed one through the state.
Although you will have limited contact with your family and friends while you are in your holding cell, you can talk to your attorney as often as needed. They will advise you on what to say, what to do and help you know how to handle the situation.
If You Are Charged, You Will Have An Arraignment
Once you are charged, there will be a time set for your arraignment. This is when you go before the judge and either plead guilty or not guilty. If you plead guilty, you will get your sentence immediately. You might get jail time, a fine, or even a warning. If you plead not guilty, there will be a trial set up on your behalf.
By understanding these things, you can know what to do to protect yourself if you are arrested.
I'll be up front: I have a criminal record. As someone who's spent lots--and lots--of time looking for a job in my life, I've gotten used to being up front with this fact. It's difficult to get hired with this on my record, and frankly, it never gets less scary to have to tell an interviewer about it. But that doesn't mean I'm unemployable. I'm a hard worker who can bring a lot to any company. And I also know what an employer needs to do for me. I know my rights. There's no federal law protecting me from discrimination due to my record, but there are plenty of state laws that make it a little easier for me. If you're looking for a job and you have a criminal record, read through this information. Protect yourself during a job search. Know your rights.