If You’re Arrested, Here’s What to Expect

People make mistakes, but sometimes those mistakes break laws. When you have a warrant out for arrest or are accused of a crime and arrested, you may not know what to expect. Here’s a brief breakdown from the arrest through leaving the station.


Most people receive their information on how arrests work from popular TV shows or the evening news. However, not all arrests are the same. There are things you can do to smooth the process. Listening and following the police officer’s orders gives you a better opportunity to plead your case to open ears later, especially if you are innocent. Once you are arrested, you go to the police station to be detained. The officer reads you the Miranda Rights. Since you have the right to obtain a Fairfax criminal lawyer and remain silent, it is in your best interests to do both.


While at the police station, you start the booking process. You are asked general questions about your identity, take a picture and provide your fingerprints. Any personal belongings are inventoried and set aside for when you are released. Once you have been booked, you can make your one phone call. At this point, you can call someone who can post bail if required and pick you up from the station once you are allowed to leave.


A judge determines what you have to do in order to leave the police station. That may mean posting bail. The fee can range from a few hundred dollars to millions depending on the crime and the circumstances of the charges. Most bondsman require a 10-12% of the total bail as their fee. Once bail is posted, you can collect your belongings taken by the booking officer and leave. Be mindful that if you fail to appear in court at the expected time, you may forfeit your bail and have a warrant issued for your arrest. Each state operates slightly differently, but this is the general process.