What happens when you are arrested?

Once you are arrested, you will be taken into custody. Usually, you will be driven in a police car to a local jail. After your arrest, you will generally be asked two types of questions including routine and interrogation. Routine questions do not require a “Miranda Warning.” They involve questions that are necessary or routine to the booking process. Routine booking questions include:

  • Your name and address.
  • Your identifiers, like your driver’s license number.
  • Where you work.
  • Emergency contact information.
  • Any medical conditions that you receive treatment for.

As long as the question is somehow related to your stay while in jail, it will be considered a routine booking question. If the questions start to involve the reason for your arrest, then the questioning becomes a “custodial interrogation.” 

Custodial Interrogation after an Arrest

A custodial interrogation is where you are asked questions after you have been arrested and are still in the custody of the police. Before you can be asked questions while you are in custody, the police must read you a set of “Miranda Warnings.” Miranda Warnings go something like this:

"You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say may be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you."

Any statements obtained during the arrest without a proper Miranda Warning can be suppressed, which means they cannot be used against you later in court. 

What Happens After Booking?

After booking, you will be held until you are arraigned. This is a procedure where a local judge will advise you on what you are officially being charged with. The judge will also set your bail. Judges should also inquire whether you want a lawyer appointed to represent you. If you indicate that you do want a court appointed lawyer, most jurisdictions will require you to complete an affidavit verifying that you do not have the resources to pay for a lawyer before they will finally appoint you one.

After arraignment, you may post bond. Make sure that you list clear and correct contact information on your bond. This is where the court will send your court date notices if your case goes forward.

Getting Help

If you did not receive a court appointed lawyer, you should begin looking for a criminal defense lawyer before your first court date. Many courts will only give you a limited time to find a lawyer before they set your case for trial.