After an arrest, there are certain legal steps that the defendant will go through. For first-time offenders, this can be a confusing and stressful time.
Understanding what to expect, and what one’s rights are, may help make the process a bit easier.
The defendant’s rights
According to the Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute, the first thing that happens during an arrest is the officer will read the suspect the Miranda warning. This outlines the defendant’s rights, the main ones being the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney.
This means the defendant does not have to answer any questions without an attorney present, and the court will assign an attorney if money is an issue.
The initial judicial process
After the arrest, The Dallas Morning News discusses the next steps required by the state of Texas. Within the first 48 hours after arrest, the accused must appear before a judge. During this hearing, the judge reviews the charges against the defendant and makes sure he or she understands the lawful rights.
Next, there is a hearing to determine bail. Bail is an option for every defendant, with the exception of those accused of capital murder. The amount of bail or cash bond required varies, and the judge may release the defendant on a personal recognizance bond, in which there is no requirement of collateral or cash.
After the bail hearing, the prosecution must file charges, and then the defendant shows up for the arraignment. During this hearing, the suspect enters a plea, and from here, the two sides may come to a plea deal. If not, the case goes on to trial, where a judge or jury determines guilt or innocence.