For many people, especially those who have not had previous interactions with law enforcement, being arrested can be the scariest and most disorienting experience of their life. Perhaps the most frightening part is not knowing exactly what is going to happen next. However, there are several steps you can take if you keep your head on straight to protect yourself and your freedom, the most important of which is reaching out to a skilled Salt Lake City criminal defense attorney like those at Overson Law, PLLC as soon as possible. Below, our lawyers explain what typically happens after a Salt Lake City arrest and how we can help you navigate each step of the criminal process to the most positive possible resolution.
Arrest and Initial Appearance in Salt Lake City
In some cases, for minor crimes and infractions like traffic violations, the officers may simply write you a citation with a court date on it and allow you to go on your way. Usually, however, if the police suspect you of having committed a crime, they will place you under arrest. If they personally witness you commit the crime or otherwise have probable cause to believe that you did so, they can arrest you on the spot. Otherwise, there will be some sort of investigation conducted and once the police believe they have enough evidence that you committed the crime, they will apply for a warrant for your arrest from a judge. If the warrant is granted, the police will then come to your home or place of business to execute it and place you under arrest. After this, you will be brought to the local police station for the booking process, where you are photographed and fingerprinted and your biographical information is collected.
Following booking, you will be held in the station’s holding cell or at the local jail until your initial appearance and pretrial release hearing can be held, usually within no more than 72 hours. At the initial appearance, the judge will read the charges against you, advise you of your rights during a criminal case, and, if your charge is a misdemeanor, ask you to enter an initial plea of guilty or not guilty. A skilled lawyer for a criminal arraignment will likely advise you to enter a not guilty plea so we have time to assess the case. At the pretrial release hearing, the judge will decide if you can be released with no conditions, released on bail, or must be held in jail until the charges against you are resolved. You will definitely want an experienced Salt Lake City pretrial release hearing attorney like those at Overson Law, PLLC arguing on your behalf at this hearing to convince the judge that you are not a threat to public safety and should be released on little to no bail.
Pre-Trial Events and Plea Bargaining in Salt Lake City
Once we have dealt with getting you released from custody, our skilled criminal defense lawyers will turn our attention to working on getting the charges against you downgraded or dismissed. In some felony and class A misdemeanor cases, there will be an optional preliminary hearing where the prosecutor must show that they have probable cause for the case to proceed. While the prosecutor will often try to get you to waive this, you should never do so without consulting with an experienced criminal defense lawyer like those at Overson Law, PLLC. In many cases, even if we do not believe the case will be dismissed at this hearing, it is a good chance to get a look at the prosecutor’s evidence and witnesses and to give us more bargaining chips during a potential plea negotiation.
Following this, we will request any outstanding evidence that we have not received from the prosecutor, file any relevant motions like a motion to suppress evidence resulting from an illegal search and seizure, and begin working on a plea deal with the prosecutor. In some cases where you are a first-time offender or have a minimal criminal record, we may be able to convince the prosecutor to allow you into a pre-trial diversion program or to enter a plea in abeyance. In either case, if you successfully complete the court’s requirement and stay out of trouble for a certain period of time, the charges against you will be dropped and you will not have a criminal record. Other possible deals include the prosecutor downgrading the charge to something less serious or agreeing to recommend a lenient sentence to the judge.
Salt Lake City Criminal Trials
Of course, our battle-tested trial attorneys at Overson Law, PLLC are always ready to fight for a not guilty verdict at trial if you do not wish to take a deal. For all misdemeanor and felony charges, you are entitled to a trial by a jury of your peers who must vote unanimously to convict you. However, you also have the option of electing to have a bench trial, which occurs before a single judge who makes all the rulings including ruling on guilt or innocence. An experienced trial lawyer like those at our firm will be able to help you understand which type of trial will be most likely to produce a not guilty verdict in your case. At trial, whether before a jury or judge, our lawyers will leave no stone unturned introducing evidence and witnesses in your favor, aggressively questioning the evidence and witnesses introduced against you, and arguing that the prosecutor has not met their burden to prove the case against you beyond a reasonable doubt.
If You Have Been Arrested in Salt Lake City, Call Our Skilled Criminal Attorneys Right Away
Because important events like your arraignment and bail hearing occur quickly after your arrest, it is vital that you or a loved one reach out to a veteran Salt Lake City criminal defense attorney like those at Overson Law, PLLC as soon as possible. The faster we are able to get to work on your case, the better chance we have of getting you released on little to no bail and of ultimately getting the charges against you downgraded or dismissed. For a free consultation, call our office at (801) 758-2287 today.