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What Happens After You Get Arrested?

05 November 2010

The short answer is you go to jail and you want to get bonded out as quickly as possible!  In very rare and minor cases an officer does have the discretion to give you a Promise to Appear (“PTA”), but don’t get your hopes up.  In most cases, you will be taken to the Pre-Trial Detention Center after your arrest and trust me you will want out ASAP!

How can you bond out as quickly as possible?  Contact your Miami criminal defense attorney the moment you’re confronted with a law enforcement officer — (on a side note, remember your right to remain silent, often times telling your side of the story doesn’t benefit you at this point) – Once you make contact with your attorney let him know where you are, what you’re being investigated for, and provide the attorney with contact information of a family member or friend who is willing and able to post the bond for you.  The attorney will be able to coordinate a meeting between the person bonding you out and a reputable bondsman.

Most of the time the bondsman will be able to post your bond right away and you will be able to leave once the booking process is complete; however, there are certain arrests, such as a Domestic Violence Battery arrest, that requires you to be held in custody for a 24 hour cooling off period and for more serious charges you can be held No Bond. Just because a person is being held No Bond does not mean they cannot get out.  Your Miami criminal defense attorney can request an Arthur Hearing and petition the court for a discretionary bond.

What is the booking process?  It’s an official record of your arrest.  The task of administratively processing you into the jail is called “booking.” 

Booking someone into jail normally involves the following steps:

  • Collecting your biographical information, i.e. name, address, date of birth etc.
  • Taking a booking photo, or “mug shot.”  Mug shots are used for a number of purposes, including identifying two people who have the same name, photographic lineups, and establishing a suspect’s physical condition at the time of their arrest.
  • Inventory of your personal property.  You are entitled to all of it back when you leave, except for contraband or evidence.
  • Fingerprinting.
  • Full Search.  To ensure you don’t have a weapon, contraband, etc., before you are placed in jail.
  • Criminal History Check.  If you have an open case or an active warrant in the system for an unrelated matter, you will not likely be released on bail until you go before the judge assigned to your open case.  Many judges will hold a personNo Bond if they pick up a new case while they are on pre-trial release or if the person is picked up on a warrant.  Contact a Miami criminal defense attorney to discuss ways to motion the court to set a discretionary bond.
  • Preliminary Health Screening.  To protect the health and safety of jail staff and other inmates.

Am I entitled to a Miami criminal defense lawyer during the booking process?  No.

The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees you the right to a criminal defense lawyer at every “critical stage” of the prosecution.  Unfortunately the booking process is not regarded as a “critical stage,” but rather a routine administrative procedure, and so, even if you are trying to reach a lawyer, and a lawyer is trying to reach you, you are not “entitled” to have a lawyer with you during every one of the processes described above.  Law enforcement knows this, and sometimes attempts to exploit the process by eliciting information from you.  As I stated earlier, resist the urge to talk, explain, or say anything that is not required during the process.  Remember, law enforcement is not trying to help you; they are trying to elicit incriminating information from you to help build their case.  If you weren’t able to contact your Miami criminal defense attorney prior to or during the booking process, get in touch with your lawyer as soon as possible!

 Photo Credit: Flickr

Chad Piotrowski - post author

Chad Piotrowski is a criminal defense attorney in Miami, Florida. He is a former Miami-Dade Prosecutor and has practiced criminal law, exclusively, for more than 10 years.

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