For someone to be arrested, there needs to be what in legal terms is referred to as probable cause. When probable cause exists, police can not only arrest a person, they can also seize a property that is connected to an alleged crime and conduct a search. The fact that there is probable cause, also means that a prosecutor may charge someone with a crime.
Before the arrest can take place, the police officer signs an affidavit explaining the facts to justify the reason why this needs to happen. A judge will issue a warrant if they agree with the content of the affidavit and can conclude that adequate cause exists.
What needs to happen before the arrest takes place?
The first step that may lead to an arrest is an investigation. An investigation starts when an officer witnesses something that leads them to believe that a law has been broken. A witness can also be the one to call attention to the police that a crime has taken place.
Police officers will start by interviewing any witnesses and collecting all the evidence. Evidence might include fingerprints, blood, hair strands, bodily fluids, carpet or cloth fibers, and bullet casings. Armed with this information they reach the decision to charge the individual.
Once the warrant has been issued, the police officer will make every effort to locate the person who is the subject of the warrant.
What happens when the arrest takes place?
Once the intended person has been located by the police, they will be arrested. When this happens, the intended individual will also be given a copy of the warrant in which the individual will be able to read the charges against them.
The person will be transported to the police department where they will be booked. This implies:
- Taking their fingerprints
- Completing any required procedural requirement
- Being held in police custody pending a court hearing – generally, within 48 hours
- The right to speak to an attorney
If you or someone you know has been arrested or charged with a crime, don’t waste any time in getting in touch with a Criminal Defense Lawyer. Getting the right help at the right time can be critical to make sure a defendant’s rights are protected.
What happens at the court hearing?
The person that has been charged will be read the charges against them. In some cases, this may be the first time they find out the content of the warrant that was issued against them. The judge will attempt to ensure that the defendant (this is what the person that has been charged is called) understands the charges. The judge will also ask the defendant to enter a plea. This can be either:
- Not guilty
- No contest
Keep in mind that a defendant may opt for “not guilty” even if they are indeed guilty, but they suspect there is not enough evidence to prove it.
What happens at the trial?
Here is where the jury will get to decide whether the evidence presented can lead them to come up with a guilty or not guilty verdict for the defendant.
If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime and arrested, get more information about criminal defense law right away and protect your rights.