What to do if you are arrested

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If you have been arrested, normally you won't have to stay in jail while you are waiting to appear in court. A judge will set a bond, sometimes called bail. You may either post the bond amount in cash or hire a bail bondsman. The bail bondsman normally charges a fee of approximately 10-15% of the bond amount and they might require a cosigner or collateral. You may also be released from jail on your own recognizance, your promise to return to court on the date and time specified.

The court considers many factors in setting the amount of bail, including circumstances of the arrest, the severity of the crime and its penalty or punishment range, the likelihood of flight, and any prior criminal record of the accused. If you are a first offender, you will usually be released on bail unless you are charged with a serious felony, or if the court feels that you pose a threat to another person. Repeat offenders who have committed crimes while on probation or out on parole are sometimes denied bail. Under the United States Constitution, the amount of bail cannot be excessive or arbitrary.

In California the bail procedure varies from county to county. It is best to consult an attorney prior to posting bail as you may be eligible to post a cash bond with the court and save substantial money over posting bail with a bondsman. And, if you fail to appear in court, or jump bail, this money is forfeited and you are then subject to being arrested again and punished more harshly if you are convicted.

Remember, if you are arrested, consult an experienced criminal defense lawyer immediately. You owe it to yourself to find an attorney who really knows the law. Experience in criminal law is what you need when you or someone you care about is accused of a crime.

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS

Generally, a police officer will arrest you if he or she sees you commit, or try to commit, a crime. An officer can also arrest you if a felony or certain types of misdemeanors have been committed, and he has a reason to believe that you did it, even though he was not actually present. If you are arrested, your best protection is to know your legal rights. First, you have the right to remain silent. Use it. If the police intend to question you, they must, in most situations, inform you of these legal rights at the time of your arrest, such as your right to remain silent, your right to an attorney even if you cannot afford one, and your right to have an attorney present during your questioning.

However, in cases involving public safety considerations, the reading of your rights may be waived. The police must also give you the opportunity to call a friend, relative, or an attorney. Remember, you have the right to an attorney and you do not have to say anything until you have consulted with one. You also have the right to know the charges against you and the right to a prompt hearing. And if you are held for trial, you have the right to have a reasonable bail set except for certain major crimes, or at the discretion of the court. But most important, if you are arrested, consult an experienced criminal lawyer immediately to ensure that your legal rights will be protected. Are you in legal trouble? You owe it to yourself to find an attorney who knows the law.

DO I NEED A LAWYER?

Hiring the right lawyer promptly makes a huge difference in criminal cases. An attorney is an important investment in protecting your rights. Of course, you need a lawyer if you plan to take your case to trial. But even if you do not plan on doing so you still need an experienced criminal defense lawyer to help you. For instance, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you to:

Lower your bond/bail, tell your side of the story, negotiate with the prosecution for a favorable plea/sentence, protect your rights, inform you of all your possible defenses and different options.

If you have been arrested, selecting a lawyer is one of your most important tasks. It can be made easier if you follow these do's and don'ts:

DON'T shop for price: Often, you "get what you pay for." Fees should not be the only basis for choosing a lawyer. The lowest-priced lawyer is not necessarily the best.

DO choose a lawyer with extensive trial experience: Whether your case is headed for trial or a plea, you need a lawyer who knows how to try a case. Only a lawyer who has successfully tried many cases like yours knows the strengths and weaknesses of your case and has the credibility to negotiate the "best" deal for you.

DO be wary of the lawyer that practices in many areas of the law. Lawyers who dabble in criminal defense may not have the time or experience to make the substantial commitment that specializing requires.

DON'T hire a lawyer that won't answer your questions or can't explain your options to you in terms you understand.

To sum up, seek assistance of an experienced defense attorney in your matter: Your freedom and liberty are at stake.
Call an experienced DUI, Traffic, and Criminal Defense Attorney today

For a free consultation and to learn more about how I can help, call toll free or contact me directly at my firm, the Law Office of John Stanko, Inc.