Frequently
Asked
Questions

Q: "What happens if I am arrested?"
If you are arrested for breaking a criminal law, you will be taken to a police station to be "booked." This means that the police will take your fingerprints and photograph you, as well as ask you for some basic personal information, including your address, date of birth, parents' names, etc. If you have been arrested while the courthouse is open, you may well be taken directly to court after the booking for your arraignment. If you are arrested after hours, a magistrate will be called to the station for the purpose of determining how much bail, if any, you will need to post in order remain free before your arraignment. If you cannot post the bail that is set by the magistrate, you will be incarcerated until your arraignment in court. An arraignment usually occurs within 24 hours of the arrest or the first date available if you are arrested on a weekend or holiday. The arraignment is held before a judge of the district or municipal court. During the arraignment, you will be formally told what offense(s) you have been charged with, you will receive a copy of the police report, and you will be notified of your right to hire an attorney to represent you. A plea of not guilty will be entered on your behalf, the issue of your bail will be reviewed by the court, and a date for the next pre-trial conference or hearing will be scheduled. 

Q: "Can they use force to arrest me?"
A police officer may use reasonable force, i.e. as much force as is necessary to arrest you. Unreasonable force is assault, and a violation of your civil rights. After making the decision to arrest you, a police officer may handcuff you if you attempt to escape, if the officer considers it necessary to prevent you from escaping, or if the officer feels he needs to in order to ensure his safety. If you claim that unreasonable force was used to arrest you, a judge and/or a jury will decide whether or not the force used was reasonable in the circumstances. 

Q: "What is a search warrant?"
A search warrant is an order issued by a judge that authorizes police officers to conduct a search of a specific location. Before a search warrant may be issued, there must be a showing of probable cause. 

Q: "What is a probate cause?"
This is a difficult question. There is no bright-line test which can determine precisely what is and what is not probable cause. Ultimately, a judge will make his own determination, based upon the particular fact scenario your case presents. A finding of probable cause requires objective facts indicating a likelihood of criminal activity - and that evidence relating to that criminal activity will be found in the location to be searched. A police officers hunch, with nothing more, will not satisfy the requirements.