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Signed, Sealed, Delivered…To Jail

What should you expect when you’re arrested? Well, it’s guaranteed to involve a very uncomfortable ride in the back of a police car, and fastened to your wrists will be a pair of shiny silver handcuffs that consistently pinch your skin. Once you reach your destination, you will face detention; this is a time when police officers can hold you until a conclusion can be made on whether you are a suspect or if you had no involvement in their case. This is also a time when you have the right to ask if you are free to go or are being detained (Source). Once the detention period is over, you are either free to go or will be processed. If they find you plausible, they will arrest you and place you through the infamous booking process. From there, depending on your crime, and maybe even how good of a lawyer you have, you can be released on bail, or wait out your arraignment in jail.

Below are the facts you should know if you ever find yourself in the unfortunate situation of facing arrest.

The Dos and Don’ts

There are a few key concepts to remember when you are in midst of getting arrested. Most individuals don't realize that a grand majority of pivotal mistakes made in a criminal case occurs during the time the suspect is arrested (Source). In order to ensure a smooth arrest/booking process--or as smooth as an arrest/booking process can get--follow these guidelines upon arrest.

Do not resist arrest:

Even if you believe that you have done nothing to warrant an arrest, do everything you can to not resist. And no matter what, never make a run for it either. Guilty or not, if you run, they will chase you. If you run, you will look guilty. Whether you committed the crime or not, by resisting arrest you can be faced with a whole new set of charges.

ALWAYS ask for a lawyer:

This is the very first thing you should do if you are getting arrested. It is a common misconception that asking for a lawyer makes the suspect look guilty and therefore scares them away from exercising their constitutional right. That’s right, it is your constitutional right to request a lawyer, so help yourself out majorly and ask for one. Once you place that request apparent to the law enforcement, sit tight and wait for his or her arrival. And in the meantime, don’t answer their questions or willfully give any more information.

Call your lawyer first:

When being booked, you are initially allowed to make one phone call. As much as you may want to call a friend or a loved one, try to refrain from that. The first person you should call, if you have one, is your lawyer. Many feel the need to call a bail bondsman as soon as possible to get them out of jail, but this is a risky move since bonds are highly expensive and non-refundable. If you make that initial call to your lawyer, there is the chance he/she can negotiate with the judge in an attempt to lower the set bond price.

Do not reveal explicit details when making your phone call:

When you are given the chance to make a phone call--and it is recommended that phone call is made to a lawyer--the last thing you want to do is relay crucial information that could later be used against you.

Give your lawyer details on your arrest:

This is not the time to hide or leave out any details. If taken to court, your lawyer is not required to testify against you. Therefore, you should recount every instance in your arrest.

Do not consent to any tests:

Depending on what you are being arrested for, you could be asked to take a sobriety test, polygraph test or a chemical test. Before you make the decision, consult with your lawyer on what would be the best choice.

Do not consent to any searches:

If you find yourself put in the position where law enforcement has the ability to search your property, do not allow them before first consulting your lawyer. They cannot legally search your household, property or take DNA samples without a signed warrant.

The Booking Process

Upon an arrest, suspects will go through what is called the booking process. The purpose of the booking process is to carefully keep a record of who they are bringing in, their personal information, and the reason for the arrest. Now, depending on the state you live in, the booking process can vary, but it still follows a basic structure.

When being booked, the first thing that will occur is the recording of your (the suspect’s) name and the crime that you were arrested for. This information will all be stored in their computer files. After recording your information, you will be required to take a mug shot. A mug shot can be multi-purposeful to law enforcement. A suspect’s mug shot clearly exhibits their physical appearance at the time of their arrest. If the suspect was in a prior altercation, it will be noted. If there is an instance when a suspect is at large, their mug shot will be used as means of identification to the public. Once the mug shots are taken, law enforcement will take your clothes and any of your personal items into custody. If you are sentenced, you will eventually receive these items once your sentence is served. Next, they will record your fingerprints that will be stored in their nationwide database. You will then proceed to take part in a full body search. Once this is completed, the officers are required to check your record for any outstanding warrants. This is a very important step in the booking process because suspects with a pending warrant are not allowed to be released on bail. Once this is complete, officials will have you participate in a health screening. The point of the health screening is to ultimately protect the health of the fellow inmates as well as the officers. Lastly, you will be required to take a DNA test and the information will be entered in their nationwide database.

Depending on the crime they were arrested for, some suspects will either be released on bail or wait out their trial in jail. Whether you are let out on bail or not is relevant to the seriousness of the crime committed. Officials also have to keep in mind the suspects mental and physical health. If police believe a suspect to be a danger or threat to others, they will be kept in jail. There are also the conditions of the local jails. Some jails suffer from severe overcrowding and require police officers to review the status of the inmates and the severity of their crime (Source).

About the Author

Attorney Andrew D. Stine, is a highly successful defense lawyer located in Palm Beach County. Andrew D. Stine is a passionate legal advocate with 10 years of experience and a wealth of knowledge. With a strong belief in every American citizen’s rights, he will always work with his clients to attain the most favorable outcome for their cases.    

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