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It’s helpful to be familiar with the arrest process

Most people probably do not plan for an arrest in the future. In fact, it’s possible you’ve never given much thought to what will happen if you ever find yourself under arrest. Regardless, it can be helpful to know about the arrest process and understand what to expect from the police. This is an important step in protecting your rights.

You know that you have certain constitutional rights, but do you know what they are? Police have a certain amount of authority, but there are certain things they cannot do when investigating, arresting or handling a person suspected of a crime. The legal procedures of an arrest are important, and ignoring them or making a mistake could compromise the prosecution’s case.

When you are under arrest

An arrest happens when law enforcement takes a person into their custody, and that person is not free to leave or walk away. There must be a valid reason for an arrest, such as when the police witness the commission of a crime or they have an arrest warrant. During this process, they must inform a person of his or her Miranda rights. This includes:

  • The right to refuse to say anything that will incriminate you
  • The right to seek counsel from an attorney
  • The right to stop answering any questions without an attorney present

The police can use anything you say during this time to build and strengthen the case against you. You also have the right to a court-appointed attorney if you cannot afford to pay one.

After you are in custody 

During arrest or at some point after a person is in custody, police have the right to frisk that individual. This includes patting down that person to make sure he or she does not have a weapon or drugs. Police may also search the person’s vehicle. After this comes the booking process, which includes questioning, fingerprinting and taking the mug shot. Police can detain a person for a limited amount of time before they have to book or let the person go.

What’s next?

Any type of arrest, criminal charge or investigation is a threat to your future. Whether you have concerns about avoiding a conviction, keeping your record clean or protecting your rights, you may find it beneficial to work with an experienced New York defense attorney. You can seek this support and guidance even before an arrest. It is never too early or too late to benefit from knowledgeable counsel.