What is The Process Like?
Common Questions and Answers:
Know Your Rights: What Happens If I Am Arrested?
It is very important for people who are involved in legal proceedings to get accurate information regarding the process. Rustam A. Barbee recently assisted the Hawaii State Bar Association (HSBA) in revising a pamphlet about the rights of arrested individuals.
Readers of this pamphlet will be reminded that each case is different and dependent on facts. They will also be advised to obtain competent legal advice about their specific case.
If you are interested in acquiring a copy of this pamphlet or other informative materials, get in touch with HSBA. You may call them at (808) 537-1868.
The Legal Process
The police can arrest a person if they have probable cause or a warrant. Probable cause is present if the facts and circumstance would lead someone to believe that a crime has been or is being committed.
An arrest occurs if the police significantly deprive an individual of his or her liberty. After an arrest, the authorities must inform the suspect of their constitutional rights if they want to interrogate or question him or her. These rights include the following:
- The right not to answer questions
- The right to have an attorney’s advice and assistance
- The right to stop the questioning
The police may determine the suspect’s identity and address without first informing the suspect about these rights. If they obtain a confession from an arrested individual but fail to read them their rights beforehand, the judge may later rule the confession to be inadmissible at trial.
Generally, police need permission or a search warrant before searching a person, their car, or their property. If the authorities have a reasonable suspicion that a person is armed, they may frisk the individual’s outer clothing for weapons. The police may also search the arrested person and the immediate area after making an arrest.
If the police make an arrest, the suspect must either be released or charged with an offense and brought before a judge within 48 hours. When a suspect first appears before a judge, the accused is informed of the charges. The individual may also be released on bail or other surety to appear for later court proceedings. This will still depend on the person’s criminal record and the charges against him or her.
Hiring a Lawyer
As with all proceedings, being arrested and charged with a crime is a serious matter. This is why getting help from an experienced lawyer is important. A lawyer must have extensive training and specialized skills so that he or she can assist the client in making crucial decisions. Lawyers can provide advice about when to permit searches, give statements, or invoke constitutional rights if they are consulted with as soon as possible.
When choosing the right lawyer to work with, one should seek an attorney with experience and competence in his or her field. Many attorneys are willing to schedule an initial consultation at reduced rates or sometimes no cost at all. If an individual cannot afford to hire a lawyer, he or she should reach out to his or her local public defender to see if he or she qualifies for legal advice and representation.