Protect Yourself: Your Rights In the Arrest Process

Dec 28, 2018

arrest process

Have you ever wondered what, exactly, are those elusive rights all cop shows talk about?

From the moment a police officer makes an arrest to the time that person is released, every civilian has certain rights. 

False, unlawful or unjust arrests are not to be taken lightly. That’s why we’ve compiled the top six rights you have in the arrest process. Do you know your rights? 

Understanding the Arrest Process

The arrest process begins when police take an individual into custody. Booking ensues. 

During the booking process, officers:

  • Record personal information
  • Fingerprint individuals
  • Take photographs of the arrested

All personal items are withheld during this time. The station returns the items upon the individual’s release from jail.

Bail hearings occur next. During this phase, officials decide if the individual should remain in jail until the trial.

Many times, courts release individuals and expect them to appear in court at later dates. Bail amounts are also determined.

The arraignment process includes pleads and specifics of the charges. 

For serious offenses, individuals may remain in holding until the court reaches a verdict. 

Know Your Rights 

In 2017, police officers arrested over 10 million individuals. Whether an individual is innocent or guilty, every person taken into custody by the police force should know his or her rights.

For that reason, the US justice system enforces several required standards in the arrest process.   

1. The Miranda Warning

There’s a reason every one of those cop shows has a scene where the officers are cuffing someone while giving the “You have the right to remain silent” speech. 

This speech is the Miranda Warning. 

In 1966, the Supreme Court ruled that officers must inform accused of their rights. This occurred after a slew of defendants claimed officers took advantage of their lack of education. 

This 1966 case, Miranda v. Arizona, is still enforced today as a means of ensuring every individual’s fair and just treatment. 

Officers read the Miranda Warning to all arrested individuals before any questioning occurs. If it is not read, statements cannot be used in a court of law. 

The Miranda Warning explains the accused:

  • has the right to remain silent
  • has the right to an attorney
  • has the right to request an attorney if the accused isn’t financially able to hire one

2. Humane Treatment

Any arrested person also has the right to humane treatment during and after the arrest. With the recent media coverage concerning stereotyping and mistreatment of individuals, it’s more important than ever to understand what this means. 

Humane treatment involves a wider category than many realize and is not limited to violent actions alone. In fact, inhumane treatment involves: 

  • Treating the accused as guilty before any verdict is given
  • Sharing sensitive or confidential information
  • Attacking the accused person’s reputation
  • Capricious interference with the arrested individual’s personal life
  • Torture and unnecessary violence

Cases that involve inhumane treatment are serious offenses. Anyone who experiences such treatment should discuss it at length with an experienced attorney

3. Requests for an Attorney

At any point in the questioning process, individuals may request an attorney. Police officers cannot refuse this request. 

The Fifth and Sixth Amendments in the US Constitution provide these rights.  

Note, however, that it is up to the arrested individual to request an attorney. Police officers are under no obligation to ask for clarity or to find a lawyer without the arrested individual’s request. 

During court proceedings, individuals are also permitted to have an attorney. For those who cannot afford an attorney, the state provides a public defender at no cost to the defendant. 

4. Questioning Without an Attorney

It is up to individuals in custody if they want to answer questions during any interrogations. Those questioned have several choices:

  1. Remain silent, as is their constitutional right
  2. Answer police questions openly
  3. Request the assistance of an attorney before answering questions

Attorneys can be requested at any time during the questioning process, including if individuals have already answered several questions. 

The best tactic during these events is to remain silent and ask for an attorney. Even if you have done nothing wrong, one questionable statement could create further issues down the road. 

5. Held Without Charges

Every state has a maximum holding time in which police must find evidence to convict the accused of charges. In Florida, charges are made within 30 days of the date of arrest and individuals who have no charges against them are released by the 33rd day.

Exceptions occur if the State Attorney has good cause to hold the individual in jail longer. In these cases, the individual must be released with 40 days. All arrested persons, however, must appear before a magistrate within 24 hours. 

Times vary by state, but no matter the location, it is illegal for individuals to remain in jail beyond the state’s specified date without any formal charges against them. 

6. Speedy Trials

Finally, all those suspected of a crime have the right to a fair and speedy trial. Unfortunately, the definition of “speedy” varies considerably and this standard is better worded as the right to a trial within a reasonable time frame. 

Every state has laws that set forth the time frame in which a court case should occur, but varying circumstances may hinder the process. Consequently, some cases do not make it to court for extended periods of time while others finish quickly. 

In the event a person believes their trial was unreasonably slow, the federal courts conduct a balancing test. This takes the case’s specific characteristics into account to determine if the period was reasonable and if it compromised the defendant’s case. 

Let an Attorney Defend Your Rights

Even with the knowledge of basic rights during the arrest process, it’s highly important individuals seek the advice of a lawyer. Attorneys ensure your rights are not violated and know how to seek the justice you deserve. 

If you or someone you know is going through the arrest process, the right lawyer makes all the difference. 

At Grieco Criminal Law Center, we offer the expertise and passion necessary to protect your rights and fight for your innocence.

Are you ready to put an arrest behind you? Contact our law office and put the entire process where it belongs: in the past.