What to Expect From The Arrest Process in Virginia

Below, Matthew Crowley, a criminal defense attorney in Virginia, explains who you can expect after you are arrested in Virginia. If you have been charged with a crime call today and schedule a consultation for free.

What Should Someone Expect About The Process of An Arrest in Virginia?

At the point where someone is being arrested, they are being detained by the police, and they are going to be criminally charged. Typically a person will be either placed in handcuffs, placed in a police vehicle, or both. They may or may not have their Miranda Rights read to them at that point.

Arrest Process in VirginiaOften, police don’t read the Miranda Rights to the person who’s been arrested and in some cases that’s important. In some cases it doesn’t make any difference. Once a person has been taken into custody, they’re going to be transported to some law enforcement facility locally and typically will meet with a magistrate judge at some point early in that process. That might be in person, but often that’s by video. That process will involve the police officer, the accused, and the magistrate all being together.

The police officer is going to tell the magistrate judge everything that has happened. Based upon that, the magistrate judge will in many cases issue warrants which are charges for specific crimes, though sometimes they don’t.  The other determination that a magistrate judge is going to make initially is whether a person is going to be admitted to bail. In simple terms that means whether the person is going to be set free immediately. In some cases a person is release on a recognizance, which means they are recognized to appear at their next hearing without posting secured bond.  In other cases a bond amount is set, and must be posted before the individual is released, and in still other cases bail will be denied.

When that’s the case, the next step in the process a person can anticipate is that they will be brought before a judge who can review, and change, their initial bail determination.

It’s best to involve a lawyer as early in that process as you possibly can.

Are You Charged When You Are Arrested?

It is sometimes true that you have already been charged when you are arrested, but in most cases that is not correct. A charge has not been made until a warrant has been issued by a magistrate judge or an indictment has been issued by a grand jury sitting in a Virginia Circuit Court.

In the most typical case, there’s going to be an arrest by the police and the charge is not actually made until there has been hearing with the magistrate judge and warrants have been issued. But there are some special circumstances in Virginia courts where felony charges can originate from a grand jury sitting in a circuit court, in which case the charge has been made as soon as the indictment is issued and the person will learn about the charge at the point they are arrested. So, sometimes it’s true that you’re charged when you’re arrested, but in most cases the charge follows the arrest.  There are crimes for which police are authorized to issue a summons, but these do not involve arrest.

PRACTICE AREAS