If someone you know or love has been arrested, the thought of what they’re going through can be frightening. Often we think arrests happen just like they are portrayed on television shows, with people being mistreated or handled unfairly. Having some knowledge of the process can help you be better equipped should you or someone you care about face arrest. Remember, there may be an argument for why a person shouldn’t have been arrested and while every situation and law enforcement officer is different, here is what the process of arrest generally looks like:
- Arrest – You can’t just randomly be arrested in Florida. Typically, an officer will see you committing a misdemeanor or have probable cause to believe you have committed a felony. If there is a warrant out for your arrest, the police may go to your home, place of business or any other place that you frequent to arrest you. Or, if you are stopped by law enforcement and a warrant for your arrest is discovered, the police will take you into custody. Some questions might be asked of you, but you are not required to answer them. You should be informed of your rights, and you are considered under arrest when the officer takes you into custody, meaning you are not free to leave. Most of the time you will be handcuffed and placed inside their vehicle.
- Jail processing – Upon arrest, you will be taken to jail for processing. There, you will be informed of the charges that are being placed against you. You will be asked to participate in a series of processes,including getting fingerprinted, photographed and perhaps changing your clothing. At any time you have the right to request an attorney, but keep in mind that your request for an attorney will not prevent the jail processing from taking place.
- Getting out of jail – You might have the ability to be released from jail soon after being arrested, depending on the severity of the charges and whether you are in state or federal custody. If you are released, you will receive a notice in the mail for your next appearance in court. However, if the bail is too high or the charges are too serious, you might be held in custody pending the outcome of the case. With few exceptions, Florida State law mandates that you are brought before a Judge, physically or via television, within 24 hours of your arrest. In federal court, the law provides that a person appear before a Magistrate “without unnecessary delay.” This means that in State court, bond hearings are held seven days per week; whereas in federal court, bond hearings take place Monday through Friday and if you are arrested on Friday afternoon, you will have to sit in jail until at the very earliest Monday afternoon. At the first appearance, the Court will determine if a person can be released on bail and for what amount or whether that person must remain in custody until further proceedings. While State court may have standard bond amounts for certain charges, there is no such standard in federal court. Every individual brought to federal court will remain in custody until appearance before a Magistrate where a bail determination can be made.
- Remember your rights – If you are arrested, remember that you have rights throughout the entire process. You should always request an attorney to be present before answering any questions or talking to the police.
If you’re concerned that someone you know has been arrested, remember that they may not be able to communicate with you immediately. It could take many hours for jail processing and they may not be given access to a phone. The best way to help is to contact a lawyer. If you have questions about the process, do not hesitate to contact The Law Offices of Sabrina Puglisi today. We will walk you through the process step by step and help to achieve a successful outcome.