We don't ever want to picture ourselves behind bars, but one day, you might find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time, handcuffed and put in the back of a police car. That's why Georgia citizens need to know what happens in the arrest process – just in case.
By law, you are entitled to have your rights read to you. You've heard the term – Miranda rights – and that means you have the right not to incriminate yourself under the Fifth Amendment. You must be read the following when you are taken into custody and before you answer any questions:
- You have the right to remain silent.
- Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
- You have the right to an attorney.
- If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.
Once you're arrested, police can search you and your belongings to make sure you aren't hiding any weapons, contraband, stolen items or proof of a crime. Police can confiscate the property you have on hand and have you sign an inventory of the property as a receipt.
Then, you'll be booked. Police will gather your personal information, then fingerprint you and take your picture. You could be asked for a handwriting sample.
Once you've been booked, your case will be sent to a prosecutor. The prosecutors determine the charges, which must be filed quickly to preserve your right to a speedy trial. The prosecutor can alter the charges at a later time.
After that, you'll be arraigned. You'll hear your charges in court and be asked to enter a plea. At that point, a judge could set bail.
Being placed under arrest is a frightening moment, and you shouldn't go it alone. You may want to contact a Georgia criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to advocate for you and advise you before answering any questions.