If you’re like most people who have just watched a loved one be arrested by police, you’re not sure what happens next. Here’s a quick breakdown of what happens to your loved one after an arrest.
What Happens After Your Loved One is Arrested?
After your spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend, relative or friend is arrested, the police will take him or her to the police station for booking. From there, the case goes to the prosecutor’s office, where the prosecutor will decide what charges to file (if any). Then, he or she will be arraigned, and the legal process begins.
Let’s take a look at each of these steps.
What is Booking?
During the booking process, the person who was arrested goes to jail. Police working at the station in-process the person, gathering personal details, taking a “mug shot” and getting fingerprints. The person is typically transferred to a holding cell – sometimes alone, and sometimes with other people – where he or she will wait until arraignment.
During the time your loved one is in jail, the police might try to question him or her about the alleged crime. If you speak to your loved one, make sure to let him or her know that you’ve contacted an attorney for help. Advise your loved one not to talk to police until he or she has talked to us!
When the Prosecutor Files Charges
The arresting agency sends the case to the appropriate prosecutor’s office. The prosecutor will decide whether to file charges, and if so, which charges to file. Because everyone has the right to a speedy trial under the U.S. Constitution, the prosecutor can’t drag his or her feet when it comes to filing charges. In most cases, the prosecutor has to file charges within 72 hours. However, he or she can change the charges after filing them; that can happen when investigators deliver more evidence.
Arraignment: What You Need to Know
If your loved one is charged with a crime, he or she will have an arraignment. The arraignment takes place in a courtroom (or, in some cases, through closed-circuit TV that connects to a courtroom). The person accused of the crime can plead guilty or not guilty, or he or she can plead nolo contendere, or no contest (that means they’re not saying, “Yes, I did it,” but they’re not arguing about the charges).
The way the person pleads will affect what happens next. In many situations, the case will go to trial.
Can You Get Your Loved One Out of Jail?
In some cases, your loved one can post bail to get out of jail. You may be able to provide the money necessary for bail – but you do need to know that if the person doesn’t show up to court when he or she is supposed to, you lose your money. (You’ll also lose the fines or fees your loved one has to pay, even if he or she shows up to court.)
Related: What is the bail bond system?
Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About Your Loved One Being Arrested?
If your loved one has been arrested, whether it’s a family member, significant other or friend, we may be able to help them. Call us right now at 847-920-4540 to tell us what happened, and we’ll take it from there.