What Should I Do if I am Accused of a Serious Felony?

When contacted by the police, stay calm. You do not have to provide any information until you are formally charged with a crime and arrested. You do not have to answer any questions and you should not if you feel that answering questions will incriminate you. A good thing to do if you have been contacted by the police is to hire a criminal defense lawyer. Such a lawyer can assist you with this situation. A criminal defense lawyer can help you avoid the police’s questioning while still cooperating with their investigation. It is in your best interest not to make enemies or upset the police, but your lawyer will know which questions it would be appropriate for you to answer and which you should not.

Will I Have to Appear in Court?

If you are arrested, your release from jail hinges on your agreement to return for your court appearance. You either would have signed a document stating that you will appear in court on your own, or you would have posted bail in order to be released from jail. Either way, failure to appear in court will result with committing a different crime (failure to appear). It is always in your best interest to appear for your court date. You can discuss having your lawyer appear in court for you on a case by case basis.

How Will I be Sentenced for a Crime?

You will be sentenced for a crime in one of two ways. The first is if you reach a plea bargain with the prosecutor. The other way that you can be sentenced for a crime is if you are found guilty in court.

What Happens When I’m Arrested?

If arrested, you will be brought to a police station and booked. The police will take down your basic information, such as your name, date of birth, where you live, where you work, etc. You will fingerprinted and kept in a holding cell until your bail hearing. At a bail hearing, bail is determined based on the crime that you are being accused of as well as other factors, such as your prior criminal history, your risk of leaving the country, etc.