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Rights After an Arrest

Generally, you can be arrested in California in the following circumstances:

  1. A law enforcement officer observes you committing a crime.
  2. You are a suspect in a felony crime and a law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe you committed the crime.
  3. The court has issued a warrant for your arrest.

Once you are placed under arrest, certain procedures must be followed by the arresting law enforcement agency. Most importantly, you must be read your Miranda rights. These rights include your right to remain silent, a warning that anything you say can be used against you, your right to have a lawyer present during any questioning by law enforcement, and notice that if you cannot afford your own lawyer, one will be provided by the state for you. These rights must be read to you immediately upon arrest. Pay close attention and consider them carefully! Even if you know you are innocent, it is still a good idea to remain silent until your criminal defense attorney is by your side. The police cannot use your silence to implicate you in the alleged crime.

If the police arrest you and then ask you questions before reading your rights, any statements you make may be later suppressed (i.e., not allowed in as evidence). However, any statement you volunteer prior to being read your rights will not fall within the protection of Miranda. Orange County criminal defense attorney William Weinberg cannot emphasize enough that your best approach before, during, and after arrest is to only provide law enforcement with your identifying information and then politely tell the officers that you wish to remain silent and that you are requesting an attorney. Do this even if you have not been read your rights.

Sometimes law enforcement officers will continue to question you even though you have invoked your right to remain silent. They are not allowed under the law to do this, but it happens. You should know that if you answer even one question, that has been interpreted by the courts as a relinquishment of your invocation of the right to remain silent and unless you invoke it again, the questioning can continue. It is always prudent to invoke your right to remain silent even upon the most innocuous of questions—and stick with it— until you have an attorney present. (One very important exception is if you are arrested for driving under the influence. If you refuse to submit to chemical testing, you will face severe consequences under the law.)

If you have been arrested and before you answer any questions, it is a good idea to contact an attorney or have a friend or your family contact one for you. Orange County criminal defense attorney William Weinberg has been called upon to represent many clients who were just arrested, from those who have been arrested for misdemeanors to those arrested for the most serious of felonies. He will remain present during any questioning by law enforcement and will be able to advise you on the charges and your options going forward. In addition, and upon your wishes, he can advise your family and friends on your status and the forthcoming procedures.

Once you are arrested, you will be taken into custody (with the exception of some “cite and release” offenses) and booked at the police station. For minor offenses, you may be released after booking on your own recognizance. Any other arrests, and certainly for a felony arrest, you will be held in jail until your arraignment.

An arraignment is your first appearance in court. At the arraignment you will be represented by an attorney—either an attorney you have hired or one provided by the state. The judge will read you your rights and the charges against you. You will then enter a plea (invariably, a “not guilty” plea). If you were arrested for a minor offense and released prior to the arraignment, you will be given an arraignment date and time to which you must appear or risk having the court issue a warrant for your arrest.

An arraignment must be held within two court days (this excludes weekends and holidays). At the arraignment, the judge will set bail (or, in rare cases, deny bail) or release you on your own recognizance. However, this is subject to change as the cash bail system in California is in legal limbo. As of October 1, 2019, California was slated by legislation to end the bail system, replacing it with a risk assessment tool. Now that legislation is on hold pending the vote on a ballot proposition in the November 2020 elections to uphold or repeal the legislation. Until the outcome of the November 2020 ballot, bail continues to be the law in California and your bail will be set at the arraignment.

Bail is usually determined by a county bail schedule and it can vary from county to county. The bail schedule is not always strictly adhered to by the judges. Sometimes, especially if the alleged offense is particularly serious or if you have a prior criminal history or have any other red flags in the court’s determination that you may “jump bail,” the judge may set bail at an amount above the recommended schedule. When this happens, your criminal defense attorney will argue for a reduction of bail. Orange County criminal defense attorney William Weinberg has been successful on many such bail reduction motions. Even when the set bail is within the schedule, Attorney Weinberg can present your personal facts to the judge in an effort to get the bail reduced.

If You Have Been Arrested, Call Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney William Weinberg for Immediate Help

Attorney Weinberg is committed to vigorously defending his clients to the extent allowed by law. If you have been arrested, he is available for a free consultation to discuss the circumstances of your case and advise you of your options. Contact him through this online form, or by emailing him at bill@williamweinberg.com or by calling his Irvine office at (949) 474-8008.

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