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What you should do in a criminal investigation
Something happened that resulted in your arrest. It does not matter if it’s someone’s fault or not, the important thing is knowing what to do when it does happen. Here, we simplify the whole criminal process, and by following this guide, you’ll be able to give yourself a better chance if you are arrested by the police.
Arrests happen if the police believe they have probable cause to arrest you. It usually starts because someone complained to the police, or the officers themselves witnessed an act. Be calm if the police come for you, and try your best to cooperate with the police as much as possible without incriminating yourself. The Miranda warning that all officers say before every arrest is actually a great guideline on what you should do. Take note if they did not say the Miranda warning.
- You have the right to remain silent when questioned. So you won’t incriminate yourself.
- Anything you say or do may be used against you in a court of law. Like the above, it’s a warning that you might incriminate yourself.
- You have the right to consult an attorney before speaking to the police and to have an attorney present during questioning now or in the future. A criminal defense attorney knows how the law works and the right things to say.
- If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you before any questioning, if you wish. It’s best to use this right if you cannot afford an attorney of your own. They might not give the same level of service as an attorney who practices on its own, however.
- If you decide to answer any questions now, without an attorney present, you will still have the right to stop answering at any time until you talk to an attorney, and;
- Knowing and understanding your rights as I have explained them to you, are you willing to answer my questions without an attorney present? It’s better to let an attorney answer the questions for you, unless you are confident that it won’t affect you negatively.
Taken in for questioning
After the arrest, they will take you in for questioning. Remain calm and collected, and answer the questions yourself or with a lawyer. You’ll stand a better chance with an attorney because they have experience with the police, and they know what answers to give without implicating the defendant. This is important since there are cases where the defendant only made things worse for them after the interrogation. If they can’t find a reasonable cause for arrest, they may release you.
If they find probable cause to arrest you, you will be temporarily imprisoned until the arraignment. They may allow you to go out on bail before the trial, although this depends on the seriousness of the crime and the likelihood of the defendant escaping. In any case, avoid attracting attention to yourself.
After some time passes, the date of your arraignment will arrive. You can either represent yourself, or have a lawyer do it for you. We suggest that you only represent yourself if you know what you are doing.
During the arraignment, they will state the charges against you and ask the defendant how they plead. If the defendant pleads guilty, the preliminary trial will start afterwards. If you plead not guilty, a trial will be set at a later date.
At the trial, it is the prosecutor’s duty to prove if the defendant is indeed guilty by collecting evidence and corroborating facts from several sources. Meanwhile, the defense lawyer will seek to prove the defendant’s innocence, or lower the penalty. After the trial, the verdict is announced, and the defendant can either be guilty or not guilty.
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