The arrestMost criminal cases begin with:
- An arrest.
- The filing of a complaint or other charging document.
- An initial appearance before a member of the judiciary (such as a judge, magistrate, district justice, or justice of the peace).
After your arrestDuring the time from arrest to initial court appearance, you may lack access to a phone, your family may be looking anxiously to locate you and be assured of your well-being. A family member may have contacted a lawyer to help in that effort. Typically, if you are arrested, you would go from the stationhouse to the county jail and then court, perhaps with a stop at some central booking facility along the way, depending on the jurisdiction. The route may vary not only from state to state, but from precinct to precinct. A different routine may prevail at night-time and on weekends. If you had previously hired your criminal defense attorney before arrest, or if your family has hired one, the defense attorney should make inquiries to determine which agency or officer arrested you. Your defense attorney should call the agency and ask for your whereabouts and estimated time of arrival at court. If the arresting authority is unknown, your attorney may need to follow the trail backwards: court, the jail, central booking and, if any of the previous entities can identify the precinct or district in which you were arrested, the stationhouse. When your attorney finds you, your attorney should ascertain from the facility:
- How long will you be there?
- Can you be bailed and released from that facility?
- Can you receive attorney and family visits?
- If police lacked probable cause to arrest you, and if the prosecutor cannot come up with evidence of probable cause at the initial appearance, then you must be released.
- Any physical evidence gained from the illegal arrest and any statements you made following the illegal arrest must be suppressed. That means those physical items and those statements you made cannot be introduced as evidence against you in a criminal proceeding.