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A man being escorted by police officersMust-Dos After Being Arrested And Charged

If you find yourself in the aftermath of being arrested and charged with a crime, there are some crucial things you need to keep in mind and act on:

Document the details surrounding your arrest as soon as you can. Try your best to recall in as much detail as you can all of the circumstances leading up to it. Your memory will fade over time, so capturing this information as soon as you possibly can is absolutely critical. Write down the details, send yourself an email, or share the information with a criminal defense lawyer — do whatever you have to do to ensure you can recall the details later. Doing so will help preserve your memory and establish attorney-client privilege, ensuring confidentiality.

Emotional decisions made in the heat of the moment often turn out to not be in your best interest. Given that legal processes take time, approach decision-making with as calm and clear a mind as possible. Avoid rushing into decisions immediately after the arrest, especially without consulting an attorney. Do not rely exclusively on your parents, siblings, friends, or anyone you met while locked up. None of these people can help you like an experienced criminal defense attorney can. Take time to assess your situation, understand your options, and make decisions from a position of strength and clarity.

Cases can unfold over months, and circumstances may change as they do. Stay flexible with regard to your decisions and be open to reconsidering what you may hold as non-negotiable as your case develops. Regardless of whether you decide to go to trial or consider a plea bargain, be prepared to adapt your strategy as things progress. Evaluating the prosecutor’s offers and being open to negotiation is a sound approach.

Navigating a case is time-consuming and can range from a couple of months to potentially well over a year. Realizing this and being in the appropriate state of mind for the legal battle before you is essential. Brace yourself for a potentially lengthy process. Work closely with your attorney, stay informed about the progress, and be patient as the process unfolds.

Although not strictly required by law, failing to engage with a criminal defense lawyer early on is like not going to elementary school. You will never get far. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be the to your success, they can provide guidance, protect your rights, and help you navigate the complexities of your case.

Overviewing The First 24-72 Hours After Arrest And Charges

When facing your  initial arrest and criminal charges, how your experience will unfold within the first 24 to 72 hours — a critical window of time in the process — depends on the nature of the crime you’ve been alleged to have committed.

What is supposed to happen is that you are to appear before a judge ideally within 48 hours. Practically speaking, a more realistic timeline is two working days. This is rooted in the idea of your right to a speedy trial, but practical considerations, such as holidays, impact this timeline so that it isn’t always realized. For instance, if you are arrested the night before Thanksgiving, chances are slim to none that you will have a court appearance on Black Friday. More than likely is that you won’t go to court until the following Monday.

During this period, if you remain in custody, there are some ways you can be released, including your own recognizance, securing release through a bail bondsman, or having family post bail. If released before the first court appearance in two working days, you will likely not have court again for a substantial time – usually 30 days or more.

When you face the judge for the first time, your immediate focus should be entering a plea. Most plead not guilty during this initial appearance. After this, the judge will review the assigned bail and determine whether it is too high or too low. Adjustments may be made to achieve an appropriate bail amount for the entirety of the case. For instance, if the initial bail is set at $100,000, that amount would be required for release throughout the case. However, circumstances may lead to a bail review hearing if significant changes occur, such as dismissed charges.

For those released on bail or recognizance, judges often impose conditions on their release. These are often relevant and reasonable to the nature of the alleged offense. For instance, in a DUI case, attending regular Alcoholics Anonymous sessions might be mandated. In cases involving domestic violence, judges may issue restraining orders, preventing contact with the alleged victim or entry into specific locations. While these conditions are generally sensible, violating them can result in severe consequences, such as a return to custody.

For those clients I have that find it difficult to accept the terms the judge levies on them, I boil things down and ask a simple question: Would you rather sit in a jail cell, or would you rather spend two hours a week in alcoholics anonymous meetings? I advise all my clients to strictly adhere to the conditions set by the judge, as non-compliance may lead to incarceration for the duration of the case, which could span months. The decision to comply with conditions, even if seemingly inconvenient, is often preferable by far to the alternative of being confined yet again.

Although not 100% foolproof, understanding this aspect of the process — the immediate aftermath of being arrested — will help alleviate some of your fears and misconceptions about your criminal case.

For more information on Fears & Misconceptions In Criminal Cases, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (310) 879-5616 today.

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