Being busted is a scary experience, especially for people who’ve never been arrested before. If your only experience with the inside of a jail cell is what you’ve seen in the movies, then having the cuffs slapped on you and being delivered to “orange jumpsuit-ville” will be terrifying!
For people entering the criminal justice system for the first time, every part of the process is scary. The sounds, the smells, the humiliation, the fear. Being stripped and searched and photographed and fingerprinted. All of it is new, and all of it is awful. All you want is to go home.
We completely understand that! And if you hire us to represent you during this process, that will become one of our primary goals – to get you home as soon as possible. But until then, we want to help ease your fear just a little by explaining some of the process, so that you’ll know what to expect.
Your Miranda Rights:
Whether you’re being arrested on the side of the road for drunk driving, in your home for domestic assault, or down at the police station where you were taken for “routine questioning”, it will be the same every time. An officer will tell you that you’re under arrest, put you in handcuffs, and read you your Miranda rights. However, your Miranda rights apply ONLY if you are (a) in custody and (b) are being questioned. Don’t try to figure out what “custody” means or what “being questioned” means. Lawyers spend years trying to define those terms under Michigan law.
Your Miranda rights are the ones that start out: “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law….” Ultimately you have two Miranda rights that the law protects during and after your arrest – your right to remain silent, and your right to an attorney (even if you can’t afford one.). The most important thing to remember now is:
- DON’T SAY ANYTHING to the police. Be polite, but do not answer their questions.
- Do NOT consent to a search of your vehicle, or your home.
- Call The Kronzek Firm as soon as you are able to. Someone is available 24/7 to help.
Booking at the County Jail:
The officers who arrested you will transport you in their vehicle to a local jail where you will be “booked.” This means that your personal identifying information and information about your arrest will be put into the police database. This includes photographing you for the record, taking your fingerprints, and collecting info about you like your full name, current address, and date of birth. You will then be placed into a jail cell.
Your First Court Appearance:
The first time you appear in court after your arrest will be your arraignment in District Court. You will appear before a District Court Judge or a Magistrate, who will tell you about the charges against you. If you haven’t hired an attorney, the Court might appoint one for you if you are indigent and cannot afford to hire your own lawyer. This is also the time when the judge sets your bail as well as the next court date.
Be polite and cooperative with the judge or magistrate. However, do not discuss your case and do not plead guilty. The judge will only ask you about a plea if you are charged with a misdemeanor. ALWAYS plead not guilty. If you are charged with a felony, at this early stage the judge will not ask you about a plea.
The Next Step:
After determining your bond, the judge will set one or two future court dates. Try to remember these dates or write them down. Don’t worry if you can’t. We understand that you’re nervous and afraid. We’ll get that information from the court after we begin to represent you.
The next step is likely to be an informal conference between the prosecuting attorney and your defense team. It is an important meeting that should be prepared for by your attorney. It gives both sides a chance to talk briefly about the case and where it will be headed.
Navigating the legal system, especially when you have charges against you, is difficult. The odds are almost never in your favor. Why? Because the system is stacked in favor of the prosecution. So if you’re going to survive this experience and achieve the best possible outcome for your case, you’re going to need The Kronzek Firm. Call our highly skilled criminal defense attorneys today at 866 766 5245. We are here to help.