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What happens after you’ve been arrested?

A police officer informing you that you are under arrest is one of the most frightening things you could hear. Suddenly, you no longer have the freedom to choose what you do or where you go. The officer will put you in handcuffs and potentially put you in a police cruiser to transport you to state facilities.

People often experience panic and intense anxiety in the moments immediately after their arrests. Those emotions can lead to bad decisions while in state custody.

Learning about what to expect before you ever get arrested can help you handle the situation better as it unfolds. What happens after a police officer tells you that you are now under arrest?

They will take down your personal information

The booking process involves the police officer creating a formal report about your arrest and recording numerous different identifying features about you. You will usually need to take several photographs and allow police officers to fingerprint you during this process.

A search, possibly requiring that you remove all your clothing first, may also occur. After the police finish the intake process, they will move you to a holding cell.

You may spend the night or several days in state custody

Depending on the day of the week, the time of the day and the jurisdiction, you might spend several days in state custody after your arrest. During that time, police officers may attempt to question you gather more evidence for their case.

If there is any questioning or interrogation, the officers involved should inform you of your Miranda Rights before that occurs. Not everyone faces police questioning. Sometimes, when an officer arrests you, they already have what they think is necessary to bring a case against you.

You will likely need to wait for arraignment

In some cases, you won’t have to wait to see a judge to secure your release, but you usually will. A judge will inform you of the charges against you during this hearing and also set terms for your release from custody, such as the payment of a bond. Family members or attorneys can then arrange for your release from custody.

Waiting for trial

It can take months or longer to go from arraignment to an actual criminal trial during that time, you can prepare for your defense. You have the right to review the state evidence against you, and you may choose to bring in your own professionals to interpret it. You may have your own witnesses or other important information that will alter the way the courts view the situation or you.

Planning a defense strategy and knowing your rights can help you protect your freedom and your reputation after an arrest.

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