First Steps After an Arrest

South Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney Explains What Happens After You Get Arrested

If you are arrested and charged with a crime in Tampa, knowing what will ensue, and knowing what steps you should take to protect yourself, can provide a sense of comfort.

At the Law Offices of Mark G. Rodriguez, P.A., our experienced South Tampa criminal defense attorney is here to help you navigate the process and defend yourself against charges. One of the first things that you should do after being charged with a crime is to exercise your right to call an attorney for representation.

Step One after an Arrest:  Being Booked

Typically, the very first step after arrest is the booking process, by which you are taken to the jail, your mugshots are taken, and your fingerprints are recorded. The information about your arrest, including the charges against you, will be filed at this point.

Step Two: Arraignment Hearing, Bail, First Appearance

After the charges against you have been filed and you have officially been booked, the next step is your first appearance before the judge and the determination of a bail amount, if any. An arraignment hearing is typically your first appearance in court, in which the charges will be read against you, and you will have an opportunity to plead guilty or not guilty. Pleading not guilty is almost always recommended.

Depending upon the circumstances of your case, a bail hearing may also take place at this time. If you post bail, you will be released from jail and allowed to return home. If you are considered to be a flight risk, meaning that the court suspects that you will not show up for future court dates, you may not be released on bail.

Step Three: Pretrial Hearings

Being booked, making your first appearance in court, your arraignment hearing, and posting bail are typically the first steps after an arrest, and all occur with 24-72 hours of being arrested. It is during this time that you will also be informed of many of your rights, such as your right to legal representation, and told that if you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.

If you plead guilty during your arraignment hearing, then your case will quickly proceed to sentencing, where a judge will determine what the punishment for your crime should be.

If you enter a plea of innocent, on the other hand, then pretrial hearings will be initiated. For example, before your case can go to trial, a preliminary hearing will be held in order for the prosecution to prove that they have enough evidence of probable cause for your arrest, and that the case should proceed as such. You will also have options to enter a plea bargain before trial.

Call Our Criminal Law Attorney Today

Being arrested is scary, but it is important to remember that regardless of the crime of which you’ve been charged, you have legal rights. At the Law Offices of Mark G. Rodriguez, P.A., we can help to ensure those legal rights are protected. For your free consultation, please contact our experienced South Tampa criminal defense lawyer today.