While you may have an idea of what happens if you’re arrested from watching police procedurals and movies, you might still be surprised to learn some steps that aren’t always shown on TV. Even if you know what comes next, the shock of being arrested for the first time can lead to further confusion or self-incrimination if you aren’t careful.

Learn more about what happens when you’re arrested and in the days following. If you have questions about your charges and need legal help, call Eraser Law today.

During the Arrest 

You can be arrested with or without a warrant. If the police have a warrant, a judge has authorized them to find and arrest you. They can also make an arrest if they don’t have a warrant but have probable cause to suspect you committed a crime.

The arresting officer will state the alleged offense and read your Miranda rights. Exercise these rights by remaining silent and immediately asking for an attorney. Don’t answer any police questions aside from providing your identifying information.

Intake and Booking

After being arrested, you’ll likely be handcuffed as you’re transported to the local police station or detention center for booking. There, you’ll be fingerprinted and photographed. Your personal belongings will also be confiscated. This process can take several hours, and you may have to wait in a holding cell until it’s finished.

Contact an attorney as soon as you’re given the opportunity at the station. A lawyer can guide you through the process while protecting your rights at each step.

Preparing for Your First Court Appearance

After booking, you will go before a magistrate to hear the charges against you. Here, you may be able to secure a pretrial release on one of the following:

Release on Bail

Posting bail, also known as bond, is a financial guarantee that you will return to court for trial. A judge can set bail based on various factors, including the severity of the alleged offense and your prior criminal history if you have one.

Bail can be paid to the court if you have the money readily available. If you don’t, you can go through a bail bondsman who will pay the full amount and charge you a fee (typically a percentage of the total amount) to cover their risk.

Once bail is posted, you will be released from custody on the condition you return to court when required and don’t get into more legal trouble. If you fail to appear, you forfeit the bail money and may have a warrant put out for your arrest. Bail may not be available for serious charges such as felonies.

Release on Personal Recognizance

Being released on your own recognizance means you can leave custody without posting bail. Instead, you’re released based on your promise to appear in court for all required proceedings. This option is typically granted for less serious offenses, if you have strong community ties, and if you have a clean criminal record.

Enter a Plea

If you are charged your case proceeds to trial, the next step is arraignment. Here, you will enter one of these plea options:

  • Guilty: You admit to the offense and waive your right to a trial.
  • Not guilty: You refute the charges and request a trial.
  • No contest: You admit the case facts are true and that the prosecution has sufficient evidence for a conviction, but don’t admit guilt.

Possible Outcomes after Your First Arrest in Minnesota

What happens after you’re arrested depends on the alleged offense, the strength of the evidence against you, and your criminal history. Potential outcomes for first-time offenders may include:

  • Dismissal: If the evidence against you is weak, the charges could be dropped.
  • Reduced charges: An attorney may be able to negotiate to have the charges reduced to a lower level.
  • Probation: You can avoid jail time but will have to meet specific conditions set by the court, such as community service or drug and alcohol treatment.
  • Pretrial diversion programs: Minnesota offers diversion programs for first-time offenders to avoid a criminal record by completing education courses, counseling, or rehab.
  • Not Guilty/Acquittal at Trial: If the State is unable to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, you could be found not guilty at trial.
  • Conviction: If found convicted, you could face fines, jail time, or both.

Many low-level convictions in Minnesota can be expunged from your record, meaning they will be sealed and removed from public view.

Keep in mind that criminal charges never go to trial and are resolved through a plea or pretrial diversion. Your attorney will explain all the potential outcomes and protect your rights at each step in the process.

Arrested for the First Time? Call Eraser Law Today

Being arrested for the first time in Minnesota can be upsetting, but you can minimize the long-term consequences by knowing what to do and immediately calling an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Even if your charges are minor, don’t risk fighting them on your own. You stand a better chance of getting your charges dismissed or reduced with the help of a criminal defense attorney. And if you’re looking to get a previous conviction expunged, Eraser Law can help.

Call 612-422-4950 today or contact us to schedule a free consultation.

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