Anyone can find themselves entangled in the criminal justice system. Whether law enforcement arrested you wrongfully, arrested you due to some error or you made an unfortunate choice that led to your arrest, you are probably wondering what happens next.
What are the steps following an arrest?
New Jersey law enforcement officers have to follow a set of procedures to uphold your civil rights. You can expect to go through several steps during and after the arrest process. These include:
At the police station, a staff member will ask your name, date of birth, address, height, weight and other information. You need to give these basic facts about yourself, but you do not have to answer any questions about the alleged offense. Someone will likely take your photograph, too.
- Turning over your possessions
You will have to turn over the items in your possession, including your cell phone, medication and money. If the law enforcement officers believe that your possessions have some involvement in the alleged crime, they will seize them as evidence. If not, you will eventually receive them back.
- Searching your person
A police officer will frisk you, if they have not already. Then, two staff members of the same sex as you might perform a strip search. Strip searches should be performed only when necessary.
- Requesting counsel or giving an interview
You have the option of requesting an attorney before speaking with any law enforcement officers. If you choose, you can give an interview with a cop. However, beware that you might inadvertently incriminate yourself – even if you have not done anything illegal.
- Receiving a charge, bail or detention
If there is enough probable cause, the state will bring a criminal charge against you. For minor offenses, you will probably be released. If the court sets bail and you can post it, you can leave. Severe felony offenses, though, are not always eligible for bail.
The road after the initial booking is still long. From here, you will have an arraignment at which you can enter your plea. Then, your attorney might get your charges dismissed, negotiate a plea bargain with the district attorney’s office or defend you at a trial.