What Generally Happens Following an Arrest
No one wants to be arrested, and there is no way to make being arrested a comfortable experience. But understanding the process may help make it something you can adjust to a bit more easily. Having a good, experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side as soon as possible will also help your peace of mind.
Ways Arrests Occur
Police typically need a legal document called an arrest warrant, signed by a magistrate, before they can arrest you. They can also arrest you if they see you committing a crime. Although the police may touch you during the process, they should not hurt you while placing you under arrest. When the police ask you questions about what happened or what you did, they will be required to read you your rights (your Miranda rights). Always be aware that you have the right to remain silent and ask for an attorney instead of answering questions. If you are being arrested you should ask for a lawyer as soon as possible. It’s most often best not to speak to the police without a lawyer present.
Once you are arrested you will be booked. In most states, including Virginia, being booked includes taking your photo and your fingerprints. The next step involves appearing before a magistrate who will decide your initial bail. Typically, when the bail is set, it can be paid with CASH or CORPORATE SURETY. If the bail is paid (posted) with CASH, you are required to pay the whole amount. Assuming you appear as directed for all court proceedings, you will get all of your money back (without interest). If you pay with corporate surety (a BOND), the bail is paid on your behalf by a bail/bondsman. Typically, the bail/bondsman (bonding company) charges about 10% of the bail. Thus, you only need to come up with that much money to “bond out.” However, you DO NOT get that money back at the end of the case. You pay/lose 10% of your bail. The following illustrates how this works. If your bail is set at $10,000, you can pay that full amount in cash to bond out. At the end of your case, if you’ve shown up to court when required, the full $10,000 is returned to you. However, if you choose to pay a bail/bondsman, you typically only have to pay $1,000 to them to bond out. They will then post the $10,000 bail for your release. However, at the end of the case, you don’t get any money back from them. You lose the $1,000.
What Is The Significance Of An Arrest?
An arrest is simply a legal accusation. No matter what you’ve done, or what you’ve been charged with, the government still has to prove, beyond any reasonable doubt, that you violated the law in the way they claim. For criminal charges in Virginia, almost all misdemeanors committed by an adult are heard in the General District Court (GDC). Felony charges, if not resolved some other way, are heard in the Circuit Court. Alleged crimes committed by anyone who was less than 18 years old at the time are directed to the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court. Our system of justice is based on the fact that there is never a burden on you to prove that you’re innocent. Thus, if you’ve been arrested, it is vital to work with an experienced attorney to help guide you through the criminal legal process, and help you make the right decisions throughout your case. If you or a loved one has been arrested, contact the law firm of Petrovich and Walsh. Centrally located in Fairfax, our attorneys have more than 40 years of experience providing criminal defense for residents of Northern Virginia.