Being arrested is a nerve-wracking experience, and you’ll likely have many questions about what will happen after an arrest occurs. Having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side can help you understand criminal proceedings in Arizona. The period of time shortly after being arrested involves many steps that can influence the outcome of your case, so it’s beneficial to contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
Here is what might occur after an arrest in Arizona:
1. Miranda Rights
Before any questioning can occur, the law enforcement officer(s) will need to inform you of the constitutional rights that protect you from self-incrimination. These are known as Miranda rights due to the Supreme Court case (Miranda v. Arizona) that affirmed the importance of informing individuals of these rights prior to investigation.
Each police department may have a slightly different script for informing you of your Miranda rights, but the message itself is consistent. The officer will tell you that you have the right to remain silent and that anything you say (or do) can (and will) be held against you in court. They will also inform you of your right to an attorney and will tell you that if you cannot afford a lawyer, you may choose to have a public defender appointed to you.
The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects you from unreasonable searches and seizures. This means that police typically need a warrant to conduct a search of your vehicle or person. However, they can also conduct a search if there is probable cause, for their protection, or during a lawful arrest per the “automobile exception,” upheld in Arizona v. Gant.
Police may search you and your vehicle, if applicable, after beginning the arrest process. Any personal property should be stored and you will be asked to sign an inventory of these items. You should only sign this if you agree that the inventory is correct.
3. Car Towed & Impounded
If you’re arrested during a traffic stop, your car will often be towed and impounded by the police unless there is a passenger who can lawfully drive the vehicle away. You will need to pay a fee for the towing and a charge for every day it is impounded before you can recover the vehicle. In some cases, depending on where the stop occurred, you may be able to leave the vehicle for someone else to pick up.
Once you arrive at the jail after an arrest, you’ll be booked. This is the process of recording basic information, including your name, address, and birthdate, as well as getting a photograph and fingerprints.
After the booking process is complete, Arizona law requires that you see a magistrate within 24 hours. This is known as an initial appearance or IA. During this appearance, your bail will be set. For misdemeanors, the IA is usually also the arraignment, which is when you hear the charges against you and choose how to plead: guilty, not guilty, or no contest.
Hire an Experienced Attorney
Having a lawyer on your side during the post-arrest process, especially for the initial appearance and arraignment, is crucial. At Grabb & Durando, we are available 24/7 to assist you if you are being arrested.