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What Happens When You Get Arrested? Criminal Law

What Happens When You Get Arrested?

4 months ago by Justin M. Schiks
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Being taken into police custody can be very stressful, whether it’s happening to you or someone you care about. To be arrested means the police have probable cause to believe you committed a crime. It does not mean you are guilty or that the prosecuting attorney will decide to pursue your case.

You have the right to defend yourself, and you should immediately contact a Minnesota criminal defense attorney for help.

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Being Arrested in Minnesota

You will be apprehended by police (or turn yourself in voluntarily). Usually, people being arrested are placed in handcuffs (or zip ties), but if the police do not believe you are a threat, they may not cuff you. The police are required to read you your Miranda rights, which you’ve probably heard on TV many times. They will take you to the local jail facility, possibly have you speak to a detective, and eventually process you. 

Processing generally involves a search of your person for weapons and contraband, being fingerprinted, having mug shots taken, and possibly a medical examination, if needed. This is usually a temporary holding tank, so you will not be issued a uniform yet. By law, you are allowed to make a phone call and speak to your lawyer (or a public defender). To be clear, when you are under arrest, you are not free to leave and lose certain rights.

The Police Report & the District Attorney

The next step after your arrest and processing is for the arresting officer to write up their report documenting why you were arrested. It then gets sent to the District Attorney’s office. The District Attorney is responsible for prosecuting suspects who have committed crimes against the government. Even if the crime you are accused of was a crime against another person (rape, assault, robbery, etc), the official victim on the paperwork will say the “State of Minnesota.” 

The prosecutor is required by law to make a quick decision as to whether you will be charged or not. It typically takes 36 hours on weekdays for the DA to reach a decision. If the District Attorney decides not to pursue your case, you will be released from custody. If the DA decides to prosecute you for the crime you have been accused of, it means they have enough evidence to feel like they can win your case. At this point, the judge will schedule a hearing to determine whether you can be released on bail and, if so, how much. If you are not granted bail, or no one can pay the bail amount for you, you will remain in jail.

Going to Trial or Taking a Plea Bargain

The next step will either be taking a plea bargain or going to trial. Most cases do result in a plea bargain. “Plea bargain” means that your lawyer and the District Attorney negotiate a punishment that all parties agree to. Generally, if you are willing to accept a plea bargain, the District Attorney will reduce the charges against you. If you are found guilty at trial, you will then serve out your sentence.

We Are Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyers Ready to Help

The criminal defense lawyers at JS Defense can help you navigate the arrest process. You may call our office from jail even if you do not have a previously established relationship with us. We can not guarantee service to everyone, but we always do our best to provide timely, diligent service. Feel free to contact our office for help 24/7. 



Award-winning criminal defense attorney with a proven track record of dismissals, acquittals, and positive resolutions for his clients. For over a decade, Justin has dedicated himself to criminal and DWI defense. He has advocated for individuals through every step of a case, from pre-charge representation through pretrial hearings and trials.


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