I have been arrested and charged with a crime. What should I do?
First of all, remember that you have a constitutional right to remain silent. Use it! When we feel that we have been unjustly accused, human nature makes us want to tell “our side of the story.” There is a time and place for that, but this probably isn’t it. In most cases it won’t help, and it actually may do a great deal of damage to your case.
Next, get a lawyer! The State has lawyers working against you. They are the DAs assigned to prosecute your case. You need a lawyer on your side who will fight for you. Don’t wait until the last minute to get someone on your side. Come in as soon as possible for a FREE initial consultation. Some types of cases require that certain actions be taken very soon after you’ve been arrested, so don’t put off looking for representation.
If you have posted bail, make sure you comply with all of the bond conditions. You must appear in court ON TIME for every court setting. Avoid alcohol and drugs while on bond. Don’t give the court a reason to revoke your bond and take you into custody.
What will happen when I go to court?
That depends on the specifics of your case. In general, each court setting is an opportunity for us to discuss your case with the prosecutors. You must be in court during docket call when your name is called. Each judge is different regarding conduct in the courtroom, but a few basic rules include:
- no shorts, hats, sunglasses, food and drink, young children
- no talking, sleeping, reading, texting
- turn cell phones off
- men should tuck in shirttails and pull pants up around the waist
- no halter tops, visible midriffs, or low-cut blouses for women
If you are being arraigned on your first court date, you may be called up to the judge’s bench where a prosecutor will read “probable cause.” This is simply a paragraph summarizing the police version of what happened. Your case is NOT being tried; the judge is merely deciding whether there is a minimum amount of evidence to keep your case from being dismissed. If the judge finds probable cause, it doesn’t mean that you’re convicted of anything. DO NOT ARGUE YOUR CASE! Remember, anything you say may be noted by the prosecutor and used against you later.
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