California Arrests: What to Expect and What to Avoid

California Arrests: What to Expect and What to Avoid

The Arrest Experience

Being arrested for a crime is a stressful experience. But knowing what to expect (and what to avoid) can help you feel better prepared to defend your rights. Read on to learn about what an arrest in California entails and what you should and shouldn’t do during the process.

How an Arrest Is Made

Typically, a law enforcement officer must have probable cause to make a lawful arrest. Probable cause is a reasonable basis for believing a crime has been committed. Without probable cause, the officer would need a warrant signed by a judge to make a lawful arrest. An arrest may be unlawful in absence of probable cause or a warrant.

Your Rights During Arrest

Many people assume police officers must read them their Miranda Rights when putting them under arrest.

This is not entirely true. In reality, an officer must read a person’s Miranda Rights if putting that person under arrest and questioning him or her. Unless you’ve been detained and are interrogated, you cannot invoke your Miranda Rights because these are very specific rights. Specifically, your Miranda Rights will include:

  • The right to remain silent
  • The right to know anything you say can and will be held against you
  • The right to an attorney
  • The right to have an attorney appointed to you if you cannot afford a private attorney

Miranda Rights are also called the Miranda Warning, and it’s clear why. The police are warning you of what will happen and informing you of your rights, so you can exercise them. Take that warning seriously.

You may or may not be read your rights during a lawful California arrest. Many people are arrested and never read their rights. They may even say too much or provide a confession, not knowing what their rights are and how to protect them. Unfortunately, there might not be much you can do after you say too much. Never think you can argue your way out of an arrest, and never try to tell your side of the story before speaking with an attorney. Also, never use force against an officer or resist arrest. Even if you think the officer is using excessive force or violating your rights, you could be harmed if you fight back. Always speak with an attorney after an arrest if the officer used excessive force.

You must be read your rights if you will be questioned. If you are questioned without being read your rights, what you say during questioning could be inadmissible in court. To make sure your rights weren’t violated, it’s always wise to speak with a California criminal defense attorney after an arrest. An attorney can listen to what happened and provide you with information about what should have happened and what you can do if your rights were violated.

How to Know Your Rights Were Violated

Not all circumstances warrant a Miranda Warning, and even seasoned police officers can make mistakes, which brings up an important point. Learning about the arrest process in California can arm you with the power to exercise your rights when being arrested or facing criminal charges. If you don’t know what to expect (and many don’t), you could make a grave mistake such as telling the arresting officer too much. Furthermore, if you don’t know your rights, the officer could easily violate them without you knowing.

The Next Step

After being put under arrest and potentially read your rights, you will eventually be taken in for booking. The booking process may include confirming your identity, taking fingerprints and photographs, and even searches. Once the administrative part of the booking is complete, you will be put into a temporary holding unit (cell).

After your arrest, you must be arraigned within 48 hours unless it’s a weekend or holiday. Note that during booking and while being held, you still retain the right to remain silent if being questioned. Always exercise that right, and don’t talk to anyone but an attorney.

Why Knowledge Is Power

This information should give you a basic idea of what to expect during a California arrest and what to avoid doing. The specific steps in your arrest could differ based on the circumstances of the arrest, the probable cause the officer has (or doesn’t have), and the jurisdiction under which you are being arrested. But, in general, a California arrest will involve the above elements. And no matter what happens during your arrest, you always have a Constitutional right to remain silent when being interrogated in custody.

Have you been arrested and are facing criminal charges? Visalia area criminal defense attorney Christopher Martens can help you get the outcome you deserve. With over ten years of criminal defense experience, Mr. Martens has handled thousands of cases and has taken over 50 to trial. Attorney Christopher Martens has the skills and knowledge needed to defend your rights. Serving the Visalia and Fresno areas, The Law Offices of Christopher Martens can provide expert criminal defense counsel. Call our office at 559-967-7386 or email us at MartensLaw@gmail.com for a free consultation.

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