You might imagine that if you are arrested for a crime, it will be clear what crime it is that you are being arrested for. Most of the time, the police officers who arrest you will give you some sort of information about why they are taking you into custody, but they are not necessarily required to do so. It is entirely possible that the police place you under arrest and you have no idea what you did to prompt this. This can an especially confusing and disorienting experience, and you may be tempted to lash out at the officers if you believe you are being wrongly accused. Below, our experienced Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyer at Overson Law, PLLC helps you understand the best steps to take if you have been arrested but do not understand the charges against you.
How You Might End Up Charged with a Crime in Utah
If a police officer personally witnesses you commit a crime or is given clear evidence that you have just committed a crime, they will likely have probable cause to approach you and make a warrantless arrest. However, much of the time an arrest does not occur quickly after the crime is committed. Rather, the officers will conduct a detailed investigation into the underlying incident and work to whittle down a list of potential suspects to the person they believe to have committed the crime. Such an investigation can involve multiple components, including interviewing witnesses, collecting DNA evidence and other evidence from the crime scene, reviewing security footage, and canvassing the area for leads.
It can take many months or even years to complete an investigation. As such, it is easy for the person who committed the crime to have put it out of their head by the time the police show up with an arrest warrant, especially for minor crimes or crimes you committed while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. You may think that because such a long time has passed, you could not possible be charged with that old crime, but this is not necessarily true. Statutes of limitations often allow crimes to be charged many years after they were actually committed.
There is also a chance that you may be arrested based on false information or as the result of a sloppy police investigation. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for innocent people to be arrested for crimes they had no association with. In this case, you will likely be totally floored by the fact that you are being arrested, but it is always best to comply with the officers and fight the charges later, or risk bring charged with the further crime of resisting arrest.
What Happens After an Arrest in Utah?
Most of the time, if you ask the arresting officers why you are being placed under arrest, they will give you at least a basic answer. However, this will often still leave you wanting to know more details if the charge does not sound like something you have ever done. The best thing you can do at this point is retain the services of an experienced criminal defense lawyer like those at Overson Law, PLLC. We can work to get more information about the charges and will also sit with you during any interview that the police want to conduct. Note that you always have the right to remain silent and should exercise that right until your lawyer is present, even if you are certain of your innocence.
At your arraignment, the judge will read the charges against you and ask you to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. At this point, your lawyer will likely advise you to plead not guilty so they can request the evidence that the prosecutor possesses that led them to believe you were the culprit. This will give your attorney a better understanding of the background information behind your arrest and allow them to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the case against you.
Deciding Whether to take a Deal or Go to Trial in Utah
If, after you have received copies of the state’s evidence linking you to this case, you are still certain that you did nothing wrong, your lawyer can work to get the case dismissed. However, the prosecutor is most likely only going to offer some sort of deal rather than a straight dismissal. For minor charges and if it is your first time facing a criminal charge, your lawyer may be able to get you into a pre-trial diversion program. If you successfully complete such a program, the charges against you will be dropped.
Most times, a plea deal will involve you pleading to a lesser charge or the prosecutor recommending a lesser sentence in exchange for you pleading guilty and giving up the right to a trial. If you remain convinced of your innocence, you may not be willing to plead guilty to a crime you know you did not commit. In such a case, our skilled Park City criminal defense attorney at Overson Law, PLLC is ready and able to mount an aggressive defense at your trial. We will poke holes in the prosecution’s case and work to get you to a “not guilty” verdict.
If You Have Been Arrested and Are Unsure Why, Call Our Experienced Utah Criminal Defense Attorneys for a Free Consultation
Being arrested is always a frightening experience, but it can be even scarier when you feel you have not done anything wrong. While sometimes you may have to face up to old charges you had forgotten about, other times the police just got the arrest wrong and you are completely innocent. In both cases, the best thing you can do to protect your life and liberty is to hire a knowledgeable Ogden criminal defense attorney like those at Overson Law, PLLC to fight for your rights and tell your story. Our attorneys understand that just because the police have charged you with a crime, this does not mean you are guilty. We will leave no stone unturned in working to get your case dismissed or downgraded. For a free consultation, call us today at (801) 758-2287.