What happens if I am arrested or stopped by the police but not charged?
If you are accused of committing a crime, it is essential that you consult with a top-rated criminal defense attorney immediately.
You have good reason to believe you might be charged with a crime. Now what?
“What happens if I am arrested?” Many people believe they may get lucky, and a crime will not be discovered, or the police will give it a “pass.” A person harboring this belief is fooling themselves. It is exceedingly rare that the police will not follow up when there is a felony or misdemeanor allegation. It is just a matter of time before the police knock on your door or light up your rear-view mirror. Getting a visit from the police at your workplace can cause severe damage to your reputation, even if they are there to talk or ask you questions. Being handcuffed in front of coworkers, put into the back of a police car, and taken to jail would be devastating. If you get arrested at work, you will most likely not be returning to that job.
Waiting for the police or prosecutor to decide whether you will be charged might be one of the biggest mistakes of your life.
“If I wait to hire a lawyer, what happens when I’m arrested?”
Because hiring an attorney is expensive, many people decide to delay hiring a defense lawyer until they have been charged. Some people even speak to the police investigating the case without an attorney’s advice and protection. Talking with the police and delaying the retention of an experienced lawyer is a terrible mistake. If the police consider you a suspect, you will not be able to “talk your way out of it.” If you speak with the police, they will gain information that they will use against you. Police officers who question you at home, at work, in your car, or public places do not have to read your Miranda Rights unless you’re under arrest. Although you may think you can explain things to the police and say the right things, law enforcement officers have a single mindset to get evidence to be used against you. Remember that anything you say to the police “can and will” be used against you, not “may” be used against you.
“What happens if I’m innocent and accused of a crime?”
If you are innocent and falsely accused, there is even more reason to hire a lawyer right away. An aggressive, respected, and proactive attorney may be able to prevent charges, even when a charge seems inevitable. Avoiding a charge is always better than defending a charge. Innocent people are regularly arrested, charged, and convicted of crimes in the United States. Unfortunately, you cannot rely on the system to work perfectly, and it is in your best interest to protect yourself. What happens if you are arrested for a crime you did not commit? The prosecutor will do everything within their power to convict you, and the only protection you will have will be your lawyer and their willingness to fight for you.
“Is it less likely that I will be charged if I wasn’t arrested?”
Unless a person is considered dangerous or a flight risk, the police will probably not arrest you. In many cases, the officers will release you from custody while they complete their investigation and seek a warrant from the prosecutor. When the officer completes their investigation, the reports and evidence are provided to the prosecutor’s office. The prosecutor decides on felony and misdemeanor charges. Depending on the type of case and the backlog at the prosecutor’s office, it can take several days, weeks, or months before charges are filed against you. If the police have collected forensic evidence, such as bodily fluids or electronic devices, it can take longer. If you do not hire a lawyer on a pre-charge basis, your first knowledge of a charge could be when you are arrested on a warrant and taken into custody. If you are arrested on a warrant, the police can rush you in front of a judge before you have the opportunity to hire counsel to defend you and seek your release from custody.
The Pre-Charge Stage – What Can I do Before I’m Arrested?
If you believe you are a suspect and believe you may be questioned or arrested, it is critical that you immediately meet with an attorney for a free consultation. You are undoubtedly asking yourself, “what happens if I am arrested?” If you obtain a defense lawyer, they can call, meet with, and send a letter to the police alerting them that you’ve retained an attorney. Once the police know you have a lawyer, all contacts must be through the attorney. The police will not have access to you; you will be shielded and protected. An experienced, savvy defense attorney will not allow the police to talk to you and know how to speak persuasively on your behalf.
The pre-charge stage is critical because, in some cases, an astute attorney can convince the police or the prosecutor to drop charges. Dropping the case on a pre-charge basis is possible because a talented attorney will know how to address each piece of evidence, identify areas of weakness in the government’s evidence, and show the police their case is weak.
“What happens if I voluntarily surrender? Will I have to be arrested?”
Another reason to have an attorney before you are charged is so that they can negotiate for an opportunity to surrender yourself voluntarily if there is a charge. If such an arrangement is not negotiated before the court issues a warrant, you risk arrest and incarceration. If you self-surrender with your attorney, you will walk into court voluntarily and drastically increase the odds of getting a very low or a personal bond.
Think again if you believe you can wait until you are charged and then get a court-appointed attorney to help you. You may sit in jail for a day or more (sometimes several days) until you see your court-appointed attorney. Your first contact with your lawyer will likely be when you are brought into court. Court-appointed attorneys do not come into the picture until after charges are filed. Furthermore, a court-appointed lawyer is unlikely to know about you and the allegations before court, so they will not have any opportunity to prepare.
If you call an attorney and they tell you to wait and call them back if you get charged, you do not want to work with that attorney; their advice leaves you totally unprotected. Top-rated, astute criminal defense attorneys know that you need to be protected even before being charged. A good lawyer can do many things immediately to help you and mitigate potential charges.
An Attorney Retained on a Pre-Charge Basis Can Obtain and Preserve Favorable Evidence
“What happens to evidence in my favor if there is a delay before I’m arrested?” In many cases, evidence that your lawyer can use to defend an allegation can be lost or destroyed if not properly preserved. When the police wait days, weeks, or even months to bring charges, evidence favorable to the accused may get destroyed, erased, altered, or lose admissibility. An experienced, retained lawyer hired early on in an investigation will have the best chance of preserving evidence helpful to the defense. As mentioned before, the lawyer can sometimes use this evidence to help their client avoid being charged in the first place.
The Pre-Charge Criminal Defense Expert Attorneys
The dedicated, experienced, and zealous defense attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have successfully represented thousands of clients under investigation for possible felony and misdemeanor charges in Oakland, Macomb, Wayne, Washtenaw, and Livingston Counties and throughout Michigan. We have a well-earned reputation for providing the highest quality defense and aggressive representation. If you have not been charged yet, we will do everything possible to prevent the case from going to court. If you are concerned about what happens if you are arrested, call us for a free consultation. We will take the time to talk with you, answer your questions, and develop a winning strategy for your defense.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete a Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.