By Richard Blok, Idaho Criminal Defense Attorney
How Arrests Happen
There are only three situations that could give the police the legal authority to arrest you. First, seeing you committing a crime. Second, having probable cause to believe you committed a felony. Third, a neutral magistrate (judge) issuing a warrant based on probable cause. If the police arrest you for some other reason, there is a good chance a qualified criminal defense attorney can have any evidence collect by a search incident to arrest thrown out.
You’ll notice that the police cannot arrest you if they do not have a warrant if they have probable cause to believe you committed a misdemeanor. In 2019, the Idaho Supreme Court ruled definitively that the police cannot arrest you for a misdemeanor unless they have a warrant, or they actually saw you commit the crime.
What to do While You’re Being Arrested
If you’re being arrested there are a few things to keep in mind. Be polite and do what the police direct you to regarding where to move, where to put your hands, etc. Do not fight the police, run, or talk back – this will always end badly. Do not answer any questions about what you were doing, who you were with, where things are, or anything else relating to the reason your being arrested. Do give the police your identification, insurance, and registration if you’re driving. (If you give the police a fake name, they will just lock you up while they run your prints …and that could take a while.) If you need to reach for something like a driver’s license, tell the police what you’re doing before you do it. Sudden movements are something that can set them off. Likewise, if you have a gun or knife on your person, or in your vehicle, tell them and follow their instructions.
Unlike TV, in the real world, the police do not have to read you your Miranda rights unless they are going to question you. Never give the police a statement. The police will do their best to twist what you say and use it against you. If the police are trying to question you, politely decline, and ask for a lawyer. If they try again, ask for a lawyer again.
Once you arrive in local lockup you will have to go through processing. You’ll get fingerprinted and asked routine questions like name, address, and date of birth. You should answer these questions and cooperate during processing. You will then be moved to general holding with other arrestees or be taken in for questioning. Do not answer any police questions, ask for your lawyer instead. At this point the police may give you a form asking if you understand your rights. Read this form carefully and sign it if you are comfortable with it. Most of the time these forms are benign and simply inform you of your Miranda rights.
When you are in jail, everything you do is being recorded and watched. Phone calls are on a recorded line, police are watching your every move, and your cell mate cannot be trusted. The most important thing to remember when you are in custody is not to talk about your case with anyone, especially the police. It is perfectly legal for the police to lie to you and try to trick you to get information. Do not fall for their games. Getting out of lockup without giving up any information is the first step to a successful criminal defense.
Preliminary Arraignment/Bail Hearing
Usually within 24 hours of being arrested you will have your first hearing in front of a judge. These hearings are called preliminary arraignment, or simply bail hearings. Here, bail is set, and your lawyer gets their first real chance to advocate for you. Hiring a lawyer for a bail hearing can save you a significant amount of money in bail and make the difference between fighting your case from the outside or the inside. The state has its lawyer there so you should have one too.
Prior to your preliminary hearing you should be issued a subpoena for your next court date. You will need to sign the subpoena once you are served with it. After bail is set, the process diverges significantly depending on what kind of charges you’re facing. Regardless of the charges, you need a good attorney to protect you from the abuses of the system and to defend your rights.
The knowledgeable, experienced, and diligent attorneys at Racine Olson, PLLP are here to help you and your family when you need it most. Whether a misdemeanor or felony, our Idaho criminal defense attorneys are prepared to guide you through the legal process and fight for you at every turn. Call us toll free at 877-232-6101 or 208-232-6101 for a consultation with the Racine Olson, PLLP team of criminal defense attorneys. You can also email Richard directly at email@example.com. We stand ready to answer your questions and help solve your criminal defense needs!