What happens when arrested?



If you are arrested, you will be brought to the county jail for processing and booking.  You will then be brought to court within 48 hours of your arrest.  You will appear in front of a judge for your arraignment.  


At the arraignment, you will be presented with a complaint which is a list of the charges filed against.   You will then enter a plea (Guilty or Not Guilty).  The court will appoint you a lawyer if you cannot afford one.  

At the arraignment, the judge will also decide whether to release you on your own recognizance (O.R) or set a bail amount for you to pay to ensure your return to court.  Factors the court will consider include your ability to pay, your ties to the community, your criminal history, and the nature of the crime.


Depending on the whether you are charged with Felonies or Misdemeanors, the court will set your next court dates for the different stages of the criminal proceedings.  You will have the option to waive statutory time periods after consulting with your attorney on the best practice.  


At some point in the proceedings, your attorney will have a chance to conduct settlement negotiations with the District Attorney and the Judge.  You will be under no obligation to accept a plea bargain.  It will be your decision to either accept or reject any offers made to you.  


You have a right to fight your case and have a jury trial.  A jury trial is when 12 people from the community will listen to the evidence against you and decide if the case has proved your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.   All 12 jurors must unanimously agree to a guilty verdict.  If not, you cannot be found guilty.  


If you are found guilty by a jury, or because you have agreed to a plea bargain, you will be sentenced by a judge.  The terms and conditions of the sentence will depend on the charges you were convicted of.