What happens after you get arrested?

So you committed a crime, jaywalking or something, and the police come to get you. They break down your door, shoot your dog, taser your cat, verbally threaten your hamster, and then handcuff you and take you away.

So what happens then? Are you pretty much in jail from that point on till you have to go to court? Do they have separate areas for ‘we just got this guy, haven’t questioned him yet’ and ‘this guy can’t pay his bail so he stays here’ ? I know that the ‘one phone call’ thing is a myth, so how do you make sure your cat & hamster get fed? Your rent & bills get paid while you’re locked up? What if you have something cooking on the stove? Medicine you need to live? A Dr appointment tomorrow? A kid at school?

These things never get covered in detail on CSI.

What happened when I got arrested at age 17 is they took me down to the county jail, booked me, then threw me in a holding cell (with a bunch of other adult men even though I was under 18 - you don’t get separated into juvenile / adult wards until you go “upstairs” to the actual jail jail). It was torturous because I had to stay the night there and if trying to sleep on hard wooden benches wasn’t bad enough, every hour or so a guard would come in and for no apparent reason whatsoever rattle everyone awake and force us to move into another cell.

Inside the holding cells there was nothing except the aforementioned wooden benches, concrete floors, and a telephone with a list of bail bondsmen on the wall. After about 12 hours or so I got processed and sent upstairs - this is where I had to strip and give up my clothes/possessions and put on the orange jumpsuit*. It wasn’t until the next afternoon that I actually got to go up in front of the judge who set the bail. At that point it took several more hours before they finished processing my bail and released me to my parents, a good 24 hours after the initial arrest. But trust me, the car ride home was a lot worse than the whole day in jail.

As far as arranging your affairs; I assume that’s something you’d just have to get someone else to handle for you. If you have kids and absolutely no one else to take care of them I have no doubt the court has procedures in place for getting them into custody. With the other stuff I don’t really know though.
*to jail’s credit, those orange jumpsuits are really comfortable. I wanted to take mine home but they wouldn’t let me.

You *will *get a chance to call your lawyer or anyone else that can make bail for you. No, it’s not specifically “one phone call”, but in general they will let you make one from their phone, and afterwards you can access a payphone, often one that makes very expensive collect calls.

The ACLU has a great site for this:

If you can’t call anyone to make bail or if you have no lawyer, they will appoint one for you, and you will a short time later go to a hearing. It’s about 48-72 hours until then, more if it’s a weekend.

What to do:
*Ask if you are free to leave. If the officer says yes, calmly and silently walk away. If you are under arrest, you have a right to know why.
You have the right to remain silent and cannot be punished for refusing to answer questions. If you wish to remain silent, tell the officer out loud. In some states, you must give your name if asked to identify yourself. …
Say you wish to remain silent and ask for a lawyer immediately. Don’t give any explanations or excuses. If you can’t pay for a lawyer, you have the right to a free one. Don’t say anything, sign anything or make any decisions without a lawyer. *

In other words, other than giving basic identification, once they have taken you into custody or read you your rights say only two things “Am I free to go?” “I want to speak to my/an attorney”. Say nothing else no matter how innocent you are. Really.


Slight correction to this - I meant just clothes; possessions were given up immediately on entering the jail (including shoelaces! Don’t want anyone trying to hang themselves or garrote their cellmates) and it was probably more like 8 hours in the holding cells.

I think my processing times were especially long because A: I got arrested late at night and B: It was the start of the weekend and they were processing all the prisoners coming in to serve weekend sentences as part of the work release program for nonviolent offenders.

I got arrested once for missing a traffic ticket court date. The date was 4 months after the ticket was issued, and I honestly forgot about it. Cop caught me speeding shortly after, and arrested me.

After arriving at the jail, I was searched, “booked” and I received my speeding ticket from the cop. Then I was allowed to try to post my bail with a credit card. My card was accepted, I received my things, and I was escorted to the waiting area to wait for a cab.

All that took about 3 or 4 hours, and during that time, I got to sit in a relatively comfortable chair and watch a LOST marathon on a tiny TV. It wasn’t horrible. It seemed like a long and unreasonably drawn out process, but i didn’t mind so much.

Circa 1983, Athens GA.

For some longforgotten reason I changed my pants before heading out to meet someone. She had given me the address. For now let’s call it 99 Something Street.

I peel off the main intersection and start looking for mailboxes and house address signs. first one I see says 101 Something Street. Next one is 103 Something Street. Damn, it’s behind me. Make a convenient U turn in courtesy of someone’s driveway and try the other side of the intersection. 88 Something Street. 84 Something Street. WTF? I had it right the first time just sailed past it?

Another U turn. thru the big intersection this time watching ReallyClose for a secret hidden driveway. Like ThatOneOOPSRightHere. SlamOnBrakes. KaWHAM, car behind me climbs up my rear bumper. Some pissed off debutante sorority female ranting at me about the worth of her car and how dare I. I wait for cops, being polite and noncommital to her. Cops show up. All is going my way until they ask for driver’s license. Hmm, wallet wallet WTF? OK sir some form of ID? Umm…ohfuck oops…

They charge me with no license, with making a dead stop in an intersection, and haul me off to jail.

I get fingerprinted. Then told to strip and offered some suspiciously chemical looking soap and told to shower, which I do. Issued prison scrubs. Taken to cell. Opportunity for phone call: “Hi grandma? Umm, I’ll pay you back, I forgot my wallet, I need to get bailed out?”

Dunno what would have happened had I not known someone who could come get me. Probably nothing nice.

I researched the law, showed up for court hearing, showed I was not “in the intersection” as the law section and paragraph defined it, won my case. Avoided liability for the collision.

Sorority chick’s fraternity boyfriend chased me down at a pot party and wanted to have a fight. Bloody hell. It’s not my fault your GF can’t drive. Yo, following too closely?

Do you have a cite for this? I don’t think the officer needs to tell the suspect anything more than “you’re under arrest” for it to be a lawful arrest. The person has no right to have the charge explained to him until well after he is booked.

Good question. I’d like a cite too. I was always under the impression they had to tell you the grounds for arrest - otherwise the police could just pick people off the street and figure out why over the next 24 to 72 hours.

I assumed unless the police just happened upon the crime or hot pursuit and had the evidence in front of them, they need a warrant (even if it is phoned or radioed to them).

As for the OP question - finding someone to feed the cat once it recovers is your problem. Presumably if you don’t make bail, you give your lawyer power of attorney over your bank account to pay the rent, or write cheques for your buddy to take care of it. Otherwise, Fluffy starves if you have no friends. the landlord holds your stuff and either stores it or sells it, depending on the landlord-tenant laws of the locality.

Assuming you are held without bail for the next few months…

Unless you follow Suzie Ormand and have the requisite 8 months of savings to live off of, you’re totally screwed… especially if you pissed off your landlord or have some nice stuff. If you’re lucky, your buddy will take care of your big-screen TV for 2 to 5. Of course, other than rent and hamster chow, your cost of living is way down. I’m betting you are not allowed to keep your chequebook in jail, although maybe you can redirect your mail, so you’d have to get your lawyer or some visitor to bring you cheques to sign for the electrical bills etc.

In a way, I suppose it’s no different than being hit by a beer truck and being in a coma for a few months, except for the lower sympathy factor. The big deal I suppose is whether you can get someone to take care of the photo albums and important papers, or else you have nothing when you get out.

If you had something on the stove, probably you don’t have to worry about all your possessions unless the police turn the stove off. But - your lawyer or friends would have to chase down the fire insurance forms for you… How many months do you have to file a claim?

Maybe this explains recidivism.

It varies.

My first time I was only 6 and was picked up because the neighbors called due to no one but my sister (8) and I were home. We were kept in a large communal room and not allowed to wear shoes for about 2 weeks and fed 3 times a day in a large room. Nights were spent in a room for 12. Boys and girls were kept separate so for two weeks I waited until the parents were allowed to pick us up. [Memphis TN] 1960 obviously juvi court

Picked up for reckless driving in 1970 in Maynardville, TN I was doing 8 MPH in a school zone that was 15 MPH limit. The deputy tested my breath and changed the charge from drunk driving to reckless when I passed the test. I have never figured out why they pulled me over to begin with. I was allowed a phone call but no one answered and I was told One was it now shutup, so I waited 3 days to see a judge who fined me $175 and let me go. By some luck I had exactly $175 on me when arrested.

In 1972 I was picked up in Williamsbug KY for selling without a license. I had been dropped off by the team cheif and really did not even know which town I was in. I was taken to the ground and hit a few times with a night stick and handcuffed and thrown into the back of a squad car. After the team chief came and showed a actual permit for selling the charge was changed to public disturbance. I spent the week-end and was taken out of the cell and beaten 3 times. On monday the judge charged me with resisting arrest ( I didn’t) and had me pay $700, which my wife had to wire to me.

No I don’t like or trust cops anymore. The court system is pretty much run by petty tyrants in most towns and they do whatever they like to you. The advice upstream about leaving if possible and asking for a lawyer is correct.

Your lawyer doesn’t want to do this, trust me. If you have enough money to hire a private lawyer, you have a friend somewhere to take care of your personal problems. If you don’t have money, you have an over-worked public defender who won’t consider this part of the job description (although I have known dedicated public defenders to go above and beyond on occasion.)

This is spot on. I think that you and, er, a friend of mine :wink: went to the same jail. Except once during the night they fed us moldy bologna sandwiches and stale milk. And they keep it freezing ass cold inside so that tempers don’t flare.

I just want to ask all of you here on the Group W bench…

Kid, have you rehabilitated yourself?

I’ve not been arrested but I worked in a bail bonds office, so I know what others go through. At least in Illinois

When you’re arrested, if you’re kids are with you the social welfare of the district (city, county state) is notified and arrangments are made. This was irritating to some people as they were able to get their mum or someone else to take the kids but child welfare gets a report anyway.

If you have a car it’ll be impounded at the arrestee’s expense.

Booking consists of photographs, fingerprints, belongs are stored and documented and your issued “jail clothes”

If it’s a minor charge the police have a choice to set bail or to issue an “I-bond” which is “individual bond,” also called a personal recognizance bond

In Illinois you’re permitted a “reasonable number of phone calls” This is always at least one. And it starts over each time you are moved from station to station or station to lockup. The purpose of this is that the arrested person always can notify someone where they are being held

Bond and bail are different terms. Bail is what you pay to get out of jail till your trial. Bond is the amount you forfeit if you fail to appear. For example if you’re bond is $10,000 your bail is usually 10% or $1,000. If you fail to appear on your date then the court can keep the $10,000 posted.

Bail bonds agencies bond people out and keep part of the bond as a fee. For example where I worked, we kept anywhere from 5% to 20% (depending on the type of crime and the chance fleeing.) So in if the bond was $10,000 the agency would expect to be paid between $500 and $2,000) and that we kept. That was the agency fee whether or not you were found not guilty or guilty.

Public defenders are assigned by the court. You can only get a free public defender if you’re income qualifies for it and it must be a criminal, not civil case.

One thing people fail to realize is, at least in Illinois, over 90% of people using public defenders meet them the day of their case trail or the day before it. You usually don’t spend much time with one.

As for whether or not you have to be told why you are being arrested. It’s kind of a trick question. The courts have ruled you can be held, which is a form of arrest in itself, for a reasonable amount of time. In Illinois courts have ruled this should be as soon as possible but in all cases within 72 hours of being taken into custody.

So you see the phrase “arrested” is somewhat vague.

To a layman being taken into custody is being “arrest” to a legal mind that isn’t being arrest, but being held.

In Illinois the courts have ruled, even when you’re being taken into custody you must be given some basic or general explination of why you’re being held. For instance, “there was a murder in the area and you may be connected to it.”

But in reality you when charges are laid; it could be for the murder, it could be for having your name of a packet of drugs, found on the dead guy, it could be for stealing car that the murder stole off you, you see what I mean. It can be a very “general” reason.

After 72 hours the police have three choices, charge you, let you go or have you go before a judge to have the stay continued. In Illinois the courts have ruled the police can hold you as long as they reasonably feel they need to.

For instance, if after 72 hours the police feel you’d leave and tell someone something that hinders the investigation they go before a judge, state their reasons and you can be held longer. You have a right to challange this detention.

One thing to remember if you say to the police “Am I free to leave.” And they say “yes,” It’s actually up to you to leave. If you choose to stay, the detention is automatically legal.

Of course in real life it doesn’t work this way.

I recall one group of young women our agency bailed out. There were four of them and it involved crack. One of them had a little girl and had to get home, so the cops said, sign a confession and you can go on an “I-bond.” She did it. The other three refused and spent about 24 hours before we bailed them out. Long story short, the cops blew the arrest and the judge threw out the evidence and the three girls got off scott free.

But the one who signed the confession didn’t. And she now has a felony conviction.

See how it works sometimes

The cops can also do things like, “You don’t have to talk to us. You an wait in the holding cell with that enormous man who hates everyone, or you can talk to us and stay on this bench.”

That is one thing that surprised me most about working at the bond agency is how people will sell each other out and make deals with the cops to get any time or chance to leave the police station. You always see on movies, “never snitch.” Maybe that still applies to mafia kingpins but in Chicago, especially “the hood” they sell each other out for virtually any consideration :slight_smile:

I’m in England, so my experiences may be different but last time I was arrested was Feb 16th 2006. I was taken to the local station, booked in, waited for a solicitor, examined by the on call doctor, interviewed and then put in a cell overnight.

Then the following afternoon I was told the offence I was being charged with, released and told to come back in about 4-6 weeks time (obviously I was given a set date, I just can’t recall what it was).

The process of being bailed for weeks at a time continued for a few months, when I was told the CPS were charging me with something much more serious. Then I was sent to Magistrates Court to get a date for Crown Court. This took a further few months to come to fruition, with me being messed about many times, being told to go to court one day just to find out I’m in the following week, only having 18 hours notice I was due in court etc.

Eventually I was convicted in July 07, so the process can be quite drawn out and even though in a lot of cases you’re “free” inbetween the original arrest and the court date/conviction, having the possibility of prison hanging over you for so long isn’t a fun thing to experience.

This is your asshole before jail: ----> .

And this is your asshole afterward: ----> O

Any questions?

Q: “What happens after you get arrested?”
A: You get fucked up the ass by Mr Big (who’s in with the wardens)

1999, Reading, U.K.

I was arrested for criminal damage*, taken to a car park underneath the police station and pushed out of the back of a police van onto a concrete floor. I was unable to break my fall as my hands were cuffed behind my back. Somehow I only received minor cuts and bruising to my knees, elbows, shoulders and face.

I was later released due to “a lack of evidence.” Needless to say I have very little respect for the police anymore.

*I smashed my own TV in my own home.

I worked with cops in a small town. For misdemeanors, we’d take someone in, search them, print them, then allow them to call somebody to post bail. If they couldn’t post bail, then off to the county hoosegow, which had more cells. Most frat kids just tapped into their fraternity bail fund to post the $250 for DUI.

The best one was the kid who just kept saying “fuck you” to every question. Cops usually roll with the verbal insults and bide their time, knowing their opportunity will come. This went on for a short while until it came to the request to “empty your pockets on the table”. “Fuck you” was the reply. Cop jumps up, says “you don’t have a choice, bub”, slams him face down on the desk and does a very rough body search. You’re not going to win in the long run, so cooperation is the best tack to take.