Regardless of criminal allegations against you or the nature of an investigation into your actions, you have certain rights. Whether an officer has already arrested you or could in the future, it is in your interests to know what to expect and how you can protect yourself. When you understand your rights, you will be in a better position if police ever take you into custody.
An arrest is when California law enforcement takes a person into their custody and that individual is no longer able to freely walk away. However, law enforcement must still follow proper procedures and respect your constitutional and legal rights. If you do experience a violation of your rights, it could be grounds to challenge certain elements of the case against you. Any stage of the criminal justice system can be overwhelming, but you do not have to navigate it alone.
During and after the arrest process
One of the initial steps that law enforcement will take when preparing to take someone into custody is to frisk him or her. The pat-down is to ensure that the individual does not have a weapon in his or her possession or any type of contraband item. After an arrest, officers will take you to a local jail where they will book you. The booking process will involve police taking your personal information, DNA samples, fingerprints and photos. You may have to participate in a lineup.
After an arrest, the prosecutor’s office will decide whether to file charges, but they typically must decide this within 72 hours of arrest. At this point, you will have an arraignment, which is where you will either plead guilty or not guilty. You may be eligible for pretrial release, but the court only grants this on a case-by-case basis. You have the right to legal representation at any stage of the criminal justice process.
Your ideal defense strategy
The ideal defense strategy for your situation will depend on the details of your case, the crimes with which you are charged and more. It is in your interests to seek an understanding of your defense options as soon as possible after an arrest. If you suspect that you experienced a violation of your rights at any point, you can challenge the actions of the police or the prosecution’s case against you.