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Frequently Asked Questions

Can the police stop me without a warrant?  Police may stop and question you, although you have the right to refuse to answer. While a stop detains you for a short time, you are not moved to a different location as with an arrest. In order for police to make an arrest, they must have "probable cause," which means there must be a reasonable belief a crime was committed and that you were involved in the crime. If the police arrest you, they take you in to custody and you may not leave.

What about a search of myself or my home? In general terms, a warrant is required for police to initiate a search. If a police officer comes to your home, a warrant will be required to take you into custody. However, if the officer has reason to think you might run, destroy evidence or harm someone else, he can arrest you at home without a warrant.

What if I am arrested? The moment you are placed under arrest, exercise your constitutional rights which protect you. The only thing you should say is:" I will cooperate with you, when my attorney is present."   

What about my Miranda rights? When you are in police custody, under the Miranda case law, you must be informed of specific constitutional rights before you are interrogated.  If you are not read your rights, the criminal case is not dismissed, but rather your statements cannot be used against you in court.

What is a booking procedure? After an arrest, you will be taken to a police station where you are "booked." A booking refers to the process of officially entering your arrest in the police records. You will be asked your name, date of birth and address. You will be searched, fingerprinted and photographed. Personal property such as wallet, money and jewelry will be catalogued and stored.

What is an Arraignment? After criminal charges are filed, you will have a court appearance called an arraignment. At your arraignment, a judge officially reads the charges filed against you.

How does the Bail Bond process work? A bond is an amount of money you must pay to be released from jail pending your appearance in court. If you pay a cash bond the money will be returned to you at the conclusion of the case. However, if you use a bonding company the money you give them is the fee to have them post your bond and you will not get this money back. If you are unable to make the bond that has been set, an attorney can either get you into court at an earlier court date to dispose of your case or he can request a bond reduction hearing for you, and ask the court to lower your bond.

How is Juvenile court different? All matters in juvenile court are considered for a minor's rehabilitation, not punishment. As a result, a juvenile petition that is sustained against the minor is not considered a conviction, and can be sealed after the minor turns 18. The only exception are offenses wherein the minor is prosecuted as adult for crimes of serious violence and injury.

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