What Happens if I’m Arrested?
Kimberly J. Benjamin, Founder & Managing Attorney
August 30. 2022.
What Is an arrest?
An arrest is the taking of a person into police custody for committing a criminal offense. An arrest can be made under either of the following conditions:
An Arrest Warrant
A judge or court magistrate issues the arrest warrant. It must be supported by a signed affidavit showing probable cause for a specific crime and the person(s) named in the warrant suspected of committing it. The warrant authorizes the arrest and detention of the person(s).
Probable cause to arrest without a warrant exists when a police officer has valid reasons based on facts and circumstances that reasonably indicate that a person has committed a serious crime or is about to commit a crime.
What Happens During an Arrest
A person can be arrested anywhere – at home, in a car, or on the street. When you are placed under arrest, police officers will detain you, verify your identity, and take you into custody.
Do You Have to Identify Yourself?
Local laws usually require you to identify yourself. It may be necessary for the officer to ask for your name and address to verify your identity. In addition, you may be asked to show your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance to the officer.
Avoid making sudden movements. Answer the officer calmly or ask if you can reach into your pocket, purse, or glove compartment for the information.
Police Officers Approaching You: What You Should Do
Whether you are being questioned or arrested by police officers, you should remain calm and not aggravate the situation. The following steps might help you in these situations:
Unless a warrant is obtained, you are not required to let police into your home to arrest you. However, an arrest warrant allows the police to enter the house of the person listed on it if they believe the person is inside.
When law enforcement stops you while you are driving a car, turn off the engine, turn on your interior lights, open the driver-side window and place your hands on the steering wheel. Passengers should have both hands visible.
When you are stopped in a public place by a police officer, stop and keep your hands where the officer can see them.
If you resist arrest, you can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. If you run from the crime scene and are a threat of harm to anyone, you could be charged with a Class E felony.
What rights do you have when you are arrested?
You have the right to ask if you are under arrest and to know why. Be polite and stay calm. If you run or try to resist arrest, the situation could escalate, and the officer may be forced to draw their weapon.
Police officers may ask questions. You have the constitutional right to stay silent, and you should invoke that right. Many people get in trouble by providing incriminating information that can be used against them in court. Remember, whatever you tell the officer can be used as evidence against you. You should, however, tell the officer if you are choosing to remain silent until you have an attorney present.
What Happens After You Are Arrested?
Once arrested, the police will take you into custody. An officer will take you through the booking process at the police station, where you will be photographed, and your fingerprints will be taken. After you’ve been arrested and charged, your arrest will be recorded.
After an arrest, you have the right to make two phone calls. It is crucial that you call a criminal defense attorney in Kansas City, MO so that you can have an attorney present during the questioning and at your hearing.
The Arraignment Process
An arraignment is the initial court appearance after an arrest. An arraignment occurs after you’ve been arrested, received a summons to appear in court, or been indicted by a grand jury. The judge reads out the criminal charges against you and asks if you understand them during the court hearing. You will then enter a plea of “guilty” or “not guilty.” The judge sets your bail amount, or you are released until the court date.
It is vital to have legal representation at the arraignment so that the bail process can be explained and the lawyer can help you get released. A Kansas City drug lawyer or a DWI lawyer can best help you if you are facing a felony charge such as a drug crime, violent crime, or aggravated DWI. The Missouri courts will appoint a public criminal defense lawyer when you do not have an attorney and cannot afford to pay one.
Does an Arrest go on Your Record?
An arrest will impact your criminal record. An arrest could stay on your record for years or even permanently. Records of arrests and prosecutions are maintained by the United States Department of Justice and state and local law enforcement agencies. However, most states have laws prohibiting background checks from revealing records of arrests that occurred more than seven years prior.
Can You Remove an Arrest From Your Record?
Criminal laws in the United States allow certain types of arrests or criminal convictions to be expunged (sealed) by a criminal court. Expungement of records works to remove or conceal the arrest or conviction records from public view.
Under Missouri statute 610.140, an individual can apply for the expungement of a misdemeanor or felony offense as long as:
You have completed probation
You are not charged with a crime currently, serving a prison sentence for a criminal offense, or on probation for a criminal offense.
Certain felony offenses are not eligible to be expunged, such as:
Class A felonies, including murder, first-degree robbery, and first-degree kidnapping
Felony offenses that resulted in someone’s death
Sealing an arrest record generally allows people to state that they have never been arrested for a crime. Consult an experienced criminal lawyer to help you determine your eligibility for expungement.
How Can an Attorney Help Someone Arrested in Kansas City, MO?
Being arrested for a crime is a frightening experience. As a result of a felony conviction, you may lose your right to vote, be unable to get a job, lose your professional license, or have difficulty renting an apartment or getting a loan. With the help of trusted lawyers in Kansas City who are familiar with the local criminal court system, you are more likely to achieve a favorable outcome.
Kansas City criminal defense attorneys represent individuals accused of nearly any type of crime, including drug crimes, sex crimes, assault, and other violent crimes. They can determine whether you have grounds for dismissal of the charges against you, provide legal advice on plea options, explain their defense strategy, and guide you through the criminal justice system.
Schedule a free consultation with a trial lawyer from the Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center.
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