If you or a loved one has been arrested, or fears that they may in the near future, it is a terrifying feeling. One of the most effective ways to minimize the anxiety is to get a firm grasp on what you can expect to happen and how to react to get the best possible outcome. The specifics of the arrest process will largely be the same regardless of what type of crime you are being arrested for.
The Actual Arrest
This will typically be the first step in the process and is when the police officers will take you into custody. If you have received an outstanding warrant, you may be able to avoid much of this step by simply turning yourself in. Of course, before doing that you should always speak with an attorney. For most people, however, the arrest will happen when you are pulled over by an officer, or an officer shows up at your home or other locations.
When this occurs, you will be handcuffed and placed into a police car. From there, you will be taken to the local police department for processing. During this time the police officer will read your rights, and may actually talk with you during the drive. It is always in your best interests to remain silent as there is really nothing you can say at this time that will help your case. Conversely, there is a lot you can say that could hurt it.
Once you arrive at the jail, you will be booked. This step can take anywhere from just a few minutes to several hours depending on how busy they are. You will have your picture taken, any belongings you had with you will be documented, and your fingerprints will likely be taken. At this time, you will typically be given the opportunity to make a phone call. If you don’t have your attorney’s phone number memorized, call a trusted loved one and immediately tell them to contact us [Link to CONTACT US page]. We will help them through the next steps that they should take for you. Once you are booked, you will be placed in a jail cell, which will typically be with multiple people. Here you will have to wait until you are bailed out by a friend or loved one, or until your first court appearance, which will usually be the next business day.
When you have your first appearance in front of a court, the judge will set your bond if it is a bondable offense. If you have already been bailed out, then this appearance will be for the judge to notify you of the charges against you. The judge will read the charges against you and in some cases may take a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no-contest. You should never enter a plea without first speaking with an attorney. If you must enter a plea before you talk with an attorney, always plead not guilty as this will leave you with the most options in the future.
It Isn’t as Bad as it Seems
While nobody wants to have to go through the arrest process, the reality is that it usually isn’t going to be as bad as you fear. Thousands of people get arrested in Georgia each month. As long as you keep your cool, don’t talk to the police or prosecuting attorney, and you get an attorney to represent you, the chances are quite good that you will be able to get through this experience with relatively little impact to your life. Please contact us if you or a loved one has recently been arrested, or you believe that you will be soon.