The Arrest Process in Georgia
The arrest is generally the start of the criminal process and sets your criminal case in motion. If arrested, it is understandable to be overwhelmed and nervous about what the future holds. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys have over 50 combined years of experience and will help ease any fears that you have. We will walk you through the process and explain the next steps. However, here is some information about what to expect when arrested or expecting an arrest.
One of the questions we frequently get is how do I know if I am being arrested. You could be detained but then released shortly after and not have been arrested. Being detained is generally a “brief and cursory” holding of someone while the officer tries to figure out the situation. You may be asked to provide some personal information and a statement about what happened. However, this does not result in an arrest going on your record. If an officer says “you are free to go,” that is a sign that you were detained and not arrested.
When being arrested, expect to be read your Miranda Rights and placed in handcuffs. The arresting officer will tell the person “you have the right to remain silent” and “you have the right to an attorney” among other things. These are fundamental rights, and we urge you to use them! Once you are placed under arrest, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to talk your way out of trouble. We encourage you not to speak to the police because it probably will not help.
In addition, once an officer states that you are under arrest, you should comply with all orders. Failing to comply or engaging in any physical action that hinders the arrest process is considered resisting arrest. An obstruction of justice charge could be added, so it is critical to comply with the police when under arrest. This does not mean to try to explain yourself. It just means to follow their directions and physically cooperate as well as give truthful information such as your name, address, and birthdate. Lying to a government official is a crime.
Can I be Arrested Without a Warrant in Georgia?
The short answer is yes. A police officer is authorized to arrest a person without first getting a warrant if they witnessed the person committing a crime. It would not be sensible for an officer that saw a burglary occur to have to obtain a warrant to arrest the person.
Other warrants are issued based on an alleged victim's statement. An example is a person accused another of stealing from them or beating them up. When there isn't a lot of evidence, a case is often set for a “warrant application hearing.” At this hearing, witnesses from both sides appear before the judge to explain their versions of the situation. The judge will then make a decision as to whether a warrant should be issued or not. It is a good idea to have a lawyer present at the warrant application hearing.
Another example is if an interaction with a police officer produced reasonable suspicion or proof that you engaged in a criminal act. We have seen this happen with clients when the police knock on doors in a neighborhood asking people if they heard any suspicious activity due to a burglary. Conflicting answers or nerves can lead to the police believing that you are the suspect and they may place you under arrest. This is another reason why we caution people to never speak to the police.
What Happens After the Arrest?
After the arrest, you will be taking to the appropriate booking facility. All items will be removed from your possession, and you will have your photo and fingerprints taken. After the booking process, you are allowed a phone call to a person of their choosing. Most people take this time to call a family member or friend. After this, you are placed in a jail cell until you either post bail or the judge orders your release.
The time it takes to get out of jail varies depending on the charges and your bail status. For more information on bond, please visit our page here.
The next step in the arrest process is generally arraignment. It is the formal charging of the defendant. This is not a trial, and there are no witnesses. In sum, arraignment is when a defendant is notified of the charges against them, and they enter their first plea.
We know the stress of being arrested takes a toll on you. We want your arrest process to be a short and uneventful one so you can get out of jail and start the process of fighting your case. If you are aware of a warrant out for your arrest or think you will be arrested, call us now! We have decades of experience and know how to navigate the process. If you were arrested and are unsure where to turn, call us now. We work exclusively in criminal law and know every step that your case will take. Call now for a free case evaluation and find out why we are Georgia’s best criminal defense lawyers.