When Criminal Charges Occur, Investigations and Details on Preliminary Hearings

Both the states and the Federal System have their own codes when it comes to handling criminal procedures. However, all codes must comply with the Constitution. There are provisions for protecting individuals in the event that they are accused of committing a crime or they are considered suspects. It is important to understand that criminal procedure is the same anywhere in the United States. It’s also important that there are laws that define when it’s valid to make an arrest and that probable cause is needed to make that arrest. While it is okay for a police officer to arrest you when they see you committing a crime it’s important that you fully understand what probable cause is.

Probable Cause and What it Means for You

While someone may be suspicious that you committed a crime you cannot be arrested just because someone thinks you are guilty. Generally, police must have a warrant to arrest you unless they see you commit a crime first hand. Even if evidence has been seized it cannot be used unless there is probable cause for it. Once a police department can give probable cause that you should be searched, a judge can then issue a warrant. It’s also important that you understand what can happen if you are taken into custody.

What “In Custody” Means and What You Must Do

If you are told that you are not free to leave at any time, be rest assured that you are “in custody”. It is still the law that you must be read your rights before you are actually questioned about anything. It’s your right to get an attorney before you proceed so make that your first step. Make a mental note should the police not abide by this law.

If you decide to plead not guilty there will be a preliminary hearing. However, some states still hold one if you are convicted with a felony of any kind. At the hearing, you’ll hear a presentation made about your case but keep in mind these arguments are made for prosecution’s sake. Ultimately, the judge will decide if there is probably cause to order a trial. Criminal arrest cases can be complicated. It’s important that you understand the laws and how they apply to you. If you need more information, contact a criminal law attorney as soon as possible.

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