Common Questions: Understanding the Arrest Process

It can be shocking to find yourself in a position where law enforcement is arresting you. This time can be incredibly overwhelming, full of much stress, shame, anxiety, and fear for the unknown. In some cases, you may know why you are under arrest; in other cases, you may be taken entirely by surprise. Regardless, you are sure to have questions for your criminal defense lawyer, especially surrounding the arrest process.  

What are the common reasons I might be arrested?

While there is a vast range of crimes that could result in arrest, some of the most common include: 

  • Driving Under the Influence
  • Larceny/Theft
  • Disorderly Conduct
  • Drug-Related Crimes

What if I have no idea why I am under arrest?

If it is believed that you have committed a crime, an arrest warrant may be issued to arrest you. When law enforcement presents you with an arrest warrant, you should review it and ensure that a judge has signed the warrant. At this point, law enforcement should explain to you the reason you are under arrest. 

Can law enforcement arrest me without an arrest warrant?

Under the Fourth Amendment in the US Constitution, citizens are protected from illegal search and seizures. While any evidence obtained in this way may not be admissible in court, it’s important to be aware that in some situations where probable cause is present, law enforcement may not require a warrant. If law enforcement believes that you are about to commit a crime or witness you in the act, it could lead to an arrest without a warrant. 

What is probable cause?

In order for law enforcement to obtain an arrest warrant or arrest you, they must have probable cause. Police officers can’t just act on a feeling alone. There must be a reasonable basis to either search property or arrest someone.

What are Miranda Rights?

When you are arrested by law enforcement, they are required to read you your Miranda Rights. Miranda Rights are provided to you so that you are aware of your rights and to prevent you from incriminating yourself. Here’s a list of your Miranda Rights:

  • The Right to Remain Silent
  • The Right to a Lawyer 
  • Anything You Say or Do May Be Used Against You
  • A Lawyer Will be Provided to You Even if You Can’t Afford One

If I am arrested, when will I be able to contact my lawyer?

Yes, you will be able to contact your lawyer. When you are arrested, you are given one phone call. However, it’s essential to be aware that you may not be able to make your phone call right away. You may be required to wait it out. In some cases, law enforcement may even attempt to question you without your attorney present. At this point, it’s a good idea to remain silent. Do not answer any questions without your lawyer present; this could harm your case as you could risk doing or saying something that could be used against you. 

Following an arrest, you may feel pressured to answer questions or barter with law enforcement to get out of the predicament that you have found yourself in. This is not in your best interest. The last thing you want is to say or do something that could have an impact on your legal case. Before doing anything, contact an experienced constitutional law attorney in your area for guidance.