When you are arrested there are many things going through your mind, and it is difficult to focus on what is actually happening. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the arrest, you might be released from the location of the arrest, the police station or jail.
The biggest mistake is to ignore what just happened and wait for your court date. You want to address your defense the moment you are released.
When you are released, you are usually issued a notice to appear in court. This will advise you which court to appear in, and the date that you are required to appear. If you are not given a notice to appear in court, the law enforcement agency will inform you that you will receive a letter from them or the District Attorney informing you of your court date and criminal charges you will face.
At this point, your case is still with the law enforcement agency for them to finish their investigation and determine if enough evidence exists to pursue prosecution. While your case is with law enforcement, an experienced criminal defense attorney can provide law enforcement with evidence that can help prove your innocence and/or show extenuating circumstances which could persuade law enforcement to not pursue charges.
If law enforcement believes enough evidence exists to prosecute you on the charges, they will submit the case to the District Attorney’s Office. The District Attorney will then review the case to determine if there is enough evidence to prosecute you on the charges by a reasonable doubt standard. At this point, an experienced criminal defense attorney can provide the State with evidence that can help prove that the case will likely not be proven by a reasonable doubt standard which could persuade The District Attorney to not file criminal charges.
If they DO feel enough evidence exists, they will file a criminal complaint and you will be arraigned at you next court date. The first court date is called the arraignment. At the arraignment, the charges are presented, and you will plead guilty, not guilty or No Contest to the charges filed against you.
As you can
see, you need to address your defense the moment you are released. You have two opportunities, BEFORE your court
date, to avoid having criminal charges filed against you. The situation is not
going to get better on its own. Therefore,
it is advisable that you consult an experienced criminal defense attorney as
soon as possible.