What Should I Know If I'm Arrested

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See also: How to survive police encounters

Based on information and advice provided by the [WWW]State Bar of California. When in doubt, find yourself a real lawyer.

What is an arrest?

What rights do I have?

Once I'm told my rights, can I be questioned?

When should I see a lawyer?

How can I find a lawyer?

What If I Cannot Afford A Lawyer?

Who Can Arrest Me?

Can Someone Other Than A Law Enforcement Officer Arrest Me?

When Is An Arrest Warrant Used?

When Can I Be Released?

What Is Bail And How Is It Set?

Bail is simply a sum of money or some kind of property to ensure that you appear in court on your court date, it will the refunded to you at court if you show up. Usually jails have a Bail Schedule (this varies from state to state) for common crimes that you can just pay and go, for more serious (think felonies) or unusual offenses, it will be decided by a judge. The constitution protects you from excessive bail (although some judges purposefully set an impossibly high bail bond to keep you in jail until the trial is over, this probably isn't constitutional but it happens), and prevents the state from making a profit off you. If you cannot afford bail, you can request that it be lowered, or resort to a bail bond company. They pay the bail to get you out, you pay them for the service.

Who Maintains Arrest Records and What do They Include?

What Happens At An Arraignment?

An arraignment is just a fancy word for a hearing in court in front of a judge at which you will be read your rights and be read exactly what you are being charged with, you will also be required to enter a plea.

What Happens At A Preliminary Hearing?

A preliminary hearing, also known as a pretrial conference is what happens next if you plead not guilty at the arraignment. This is where the judge weighs the evidence against you and decide if a trial is necessary, you can also change your plea.
REMEMBER - IF YOU ARE CHARGED WITH A CRIME, IT IS NEVER A GOOD IDEA TO REPRESENT YOURSELF IN COURT, IF YOU CANNOT AFFORD AN ATTORNEY, ONE WILL BE APPOINTED FOR YOU.

When Can An Officer Conduct A Search?

In general, when you give verbal permission or they have a search warrant. There are, however, exceptions to this, so don't get too saucy in the absence of either of the above. If you don't give permission to the search and it turns out their reason for searching you is invalid, what they find can be thrown out as evidence as well as any other evidence they collected based on the knowledge gained from the illegal search, assuming they probably wouldn't have found it without the help they got. Don't expect to have any illegal items returned to you, though.

When Can An Officer Search You, Your Home Or Your Car Without A Warrant?

An officer can perform a [wikipedia]Terry frisk to check for weapons if they think you're up to no good. Also, if you're arrested, officers can search you and your immediate surroundings without a warrant. If an officer sees some evidence of illegal activity in your house or car, they can search them without a warrant under the [wikipedia]plain view exception to the warrant requirement.

If you consent to a search, it is automatically legal. Don't ever do this if you value your privacy and your liberty. If they're asking, they probably don't have probable cause and can not legally do the search, anyway.

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2008-07-31 06:42:12   Something I've never quite understood is a citizen's arrest. If I see someone doing something illegal, I can arrest them? Is this valid in Yolo County? What are the implications? —ElleWeber

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