Unless you have already gone through the criminal process or work in an industry related to the justice system, chances are that you don’t already know what will happen to you after you have been charged with a crime. But that’s ok. A Vista criminal lawyer like Peter M. Liss can help you understand and prepare for the steps ahead. In the meanwhile, here are a few things you can expect.
Police can detain you if they have a reasonable suspicion that you have committed a crime in their presence, but they cannot stop you for longer than is necessary.
The police may also speak to you at length if you consent, but you are free to leave. This is called a consensual encounter and doesn’t require the police to have any legal cause to contact you.
When police investigate you for a reported crime, you and your loved ones are not required to participate or cooperate in the investigation. Police may incorporate techniques such as audio surveillance, wiretaps, video surveillance and interviews to obtain evidence against you. They can call you, show up at your business or home or meet you in a public place. Before answering any questions, tell them you are invoking your constitutional right to remain silent and call your legal representative.
If probable cause connects you to a crime, you may be arrested and taken to the police station. When you are arrested, the officer will usually read you your rights and then ask if you will be willing to talk to the police now that you have been informed of your rights. In these situations, always say “no” and insist of speaking to your Vista defense attorney.
If you are booked in a county jail, you can be bailed out based on the local bail schedule, which will stay the same until your arraignment. If you have been bailed out, immediately contact your lawyer so he or she can begin investigating your case and preparing for your arraignment.
In some cases, you will not be arrested immediately but the police will refer the case to the District Attorney to decide whether to charge you with a crime. You should immediately contact a criminal defense lawyer who can try to persuade the prosecutors not to file or limit the charges against you.
If charges are filed, you may receive a notify letter telling you to appear in court for an arraignment. In some cases, the District Attorney will obtain an arrest warrant rather than sending a notify letter. Additionally, if you fail to appear at the appointed arraignment time, a bench warrant will be issued for your arrest.
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