What to Expect If You Are Arrested

May 14, 2013

The process of being arrested and processed in the criminal justice system can be bewildering and stressful for those who have never gone through such an ordeal. Those who have experienced it will know how tortuous it is, and why it is important to have legal representation from an experienced federal criminal defense attorney.

The Arrest Procedure

The arrest procedure that starts a criminal prosecution usually begins with three steps:

  1. The arrest of the defendant
  2. The filing of a charging document by the prosecution
  3. The defendant’s initial appearance before a judge or magistrate

In most cases, the defendant has no idea the arrest is coming, so most criminal defendants don’t automatically have access to a criminal defense attorney at the time of the arrest. However, in some cases, if the defendant is aware that a lengthy investigation is ongoing (such as in white collar criminal cases), he or she has an opportunity to retain the services of a federal criminal defense lawyer beforehand.

The actual arrest procedure will differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and even depending on the arresting agency. But an experienced federal criminal defense attorney will be familiar with any variations. Typically, the defendant is transported to a local jail or to a federal marshals detention facility.


The process of “booking” involves processing your identification and recording your arrest through photographing and fingerprinting. The police may also ask you pedigree questions, such as your identity, residence and immigration status, and conduct searches of databases to determine if you have a prior record. You might not have access to a federal criminal defense lawyer at this point. During this process, the prosecutor will begin to draw up charging documents.


If you are not released on bail immediately, you will probably then be transported to the courthouse where you will be interviewed by U.S. Pretrial Services. The U.S. Pretrial Services deals with interviewing federal detainees on release and detention issues, including bail/bond for release.  A federal criminal defense lawyer may represent you at this stage.

Contact a New Jersey Federal Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are arrested, make sure you are represented by an experienced New Jersey federal criminal defense attorney. Call Tim Anderson at 732-212-2812.


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