Prince William County Arrests
The arrest process is not always as linear as people assume. Indeed, there is more to the process than simply being placed in handcuffs. In fact, many people do not recognize that they could put their best foot forward and take steps to better their appearance to a judge or magistrate. With the help of an attorney you too could retain some form of control over your life. Do not hesitate to connect with an experienced legal representative who is familiar with Prince William County arrests.
How Indictments in Prince William County Criminal Cases Work
An indictment in Virginia is a document indicating that someone is charged with a crime. A grand jury in Prince William County would be presented with facts of an investigation and asked whether to present a true bill and send a case to trial or not. An indictment in Prince William County indicates that the grand jury has found probable cause to set a case for trial or the grand jury has found a true bill to set a case for trial.
In virtually every case where an investigation has been completed, there is enough evidence to send that case to trial. An indictment is the paperwork from the grand jury setting a case for trial. However, there are other ways in Virginia that a case may be sent to the circuit court for trial. There are direct indictments which are the most common, and there are some other, less-common ways cases may be set for a trial, but most cases in Prince William County that are set for trial go through the grand jury, and the grand jury returns a true bill for an indictment.
Circumstances of an Indictment Prior to Arrest
It is most common for someone not to be indicted until their case in general district court is resolved. Generally, when someone is facing a felony charge, that means they have been arrested on that charge at some point. Most of the indictments are returned for people who were previously arrested at least in general district court and some people who are still in the detention center with their case pending from general district court. It is possible for an indictment to be returned without someone having been arrested and someone not having their case in general district court at all by having the case originate with the grand jury, but those cases are exceptionally rare.
What Happens Leading Up to an Arrest
What happens in the period of time leading up to an arrest would depend upon the type of case and the type of investigation that is being completed. If it is a case where there is an arrest arising out of a traffic incident or a shoplifting charge where a crime was witnessed and the investigation is being completed at the same time the arrest is taking place, then the arrest may happen simultaneously with the investigation.
In other cases where an investigation takes some period of time and there are days or even weeks where the client is anticipating charges being filed, then what would happen leading up to the arrest would depend upon whether the person has an attorney or not. If someone suspects that they may be facing charges, they should reach out to an attorney right away. The attorney would able to touch base with the detective on the case and ensure that, if charges are filed against the individual, they are able to arrange to turn themselves in and maintain some degree of control over the initial arrest process.
In cases where an individual does not have an attorney, then, in the period of time leading up to the arrest, the police officer would file the warrant and, at that point, is authorized to physically arrest the person. Then, in some cases, warrants are filed and left to be served if and when an individual is pulled over or stopped by police for some reason. In many cases, as soon as an arrest warrant is filed, police officers would visit the individual’s home and serve the warrant. It is not uncommon for people to be arrested on a warrant as soon as the warrant is filed.
How Might a Person Know that They Are Going to Be Arrested?
If someone has been contacted by law enforcement and has been asked to interview with law enforcement, they should contact an attorney immediately. If someone is under any kind of investigation or suspects that they are under investigation, they should proceed as if they might be arrested. If they are being investigated by the police and there is some chance that they would be arrested, there is no way to know for sure in those instances whether they would be arrested or not. The only way to gather any information is through an attorney familiar with Prince William County arrests. Even if the attorney could only gather some limited information, it is wiser to go through an attorney than to try to contact the police to ask them about the case themselves. It is important to remember that the job the police are paid to do is to gather evidence to try to convict people of a crime. People have the right not to speak to police, and to hire an attorney to try to prevent them from being convicted of a crime.
A Person’s Rights Prior to an Arrest
Before people are arrested, they have the right to remain silent, which means that they do not have to answer questions or perform tests. The most important right people have is the right to remain silent and not answer questions because when police are investigating a situation, oftentimes, they determine who is at fault, who they believe is at fault, and what type of charges they are going to file before they have really begun their investigation. Every answer an individual gives them would simply help them to find evidence against the individual.
People also have the right to have an attorney, and if someone is in a situation where the police are trying to question them or they feel that it would be best to have an attorney, it is always best to ask for an attorney. If police ask someone questions, the individual could always tell them that they are not answering any questions until an attorney is present.
It is important to remember that the job the police are paid to do is to gather evidence to try to convict individuals of a crime. People have the right not to speak to police, and to hire an attorney to try to prevent a conviction.
The Arrest Process in Prince William County
In Prince William County, someone who is arrested would be taken before a magistrate who would evaluate the allegations against them and file the proper charging documents such as a warrant against them. The magistrate would also determine whether they would be released immediately, whether bond would be required in their case, or, in the alternative, whether their case would be sent in front of a judge with no bond having been set. People who are arrested in Prince William County are physically taken to one of the substations where they would generally see a magistrate before being taken to the adult detention center for processing if they are required to stay at least overnight for a court appearance.
Who Is Qualified to Make an Arrest
In Prince William County, especially being close to the nation’s capital, there are a number of law enforcement agencies that are authorized to make arrests in a number of circumstances, but in the vast majority of cases in Prince William County, an arrest is made by the Prince William County Police Department or, in some cases, warrants are served by the sheriff or by another law enforcement agency. Most arrests are made either by the Prince William County sheriff’s office or by one of the police departments in Prince William County, the Prince William County Police Department, the city of Manassas, the city of Manassas Park, or the town of Dumfries.
Miranda Rights Explained
Miranda rights are rights that state an individual must be informed of before they are interrogated if they are in police custody. They are called Miranda rights because there was a Supreme Court case called Miranda versus Arizona in which the defendant’s last name was Miranda, and he was not informed that he had the right to have an attorney present before answering questions and he was not informed that he had the right to not answer police questions.
His conviction was ultimately overturned because the Supreme Court of the United States decided that before the police may interrogate someone in police custody, that person has to be informed that they have the right to have an attorney present for questioning, that they have the right to remain silent, and that if they cannot afford to have an attorney, the court and the state would appoint one to represent them.
In Prince William County, Miranda rights are generally read after someone is arrested or being taken into police custody when police intend to question them further. Many police officers read the Miranda rights off of a card that they keep with them. Detectives who conduct an interview often have an individual initial a paper indicating that they understand each of the individual rights and sign a page indicating that they understand that they have the right to remain silent and have an attorney present.
One of the most common misconceptions people who are charged with a criminal offense have is that if they were not read their Miranda rights, their case needs to be dismissed or there is some problem with their case. That is usually not the case at all. It is possible for someone’s right to remain silent or their right to have an attorney present be violated, and if it is the case that the individual’s right to remain silent was violated or that any of their constitutional rights were violated, the remedy to that is to file a motion to suppress and to argue to the court that the evidence that was gathered was gathered in violation of their constitutional rights.
For example, if someone is arrested and interrogated and then the police later plan to use the interrogation against the individual in court but they did not inform the individual of their right to remain silent, the individual would file a motion to suppress and argue to the court that their Miranda rights were violated because they were not informed of their right to remain silent. What would happen in the case is not that the case would be dismissed but that the statements they made in that particular interview would not be used in a trial.
In the vast majority of cases, Miranda rights do not come into play at all because there is not an interrogation that follows an arrest. There are many cases in which the officers do not plan on conducting an interrogation but it turns into an interrogation. There are also many cases in which the police may not intend to arrest someone yet, but they are in custody when they are interrogated. In those cases, Miranda rights come into play and sometimes motions to suppress need to be filed and statements need to be excluded from evidence.
Common Mistakes to Avoid During the Arrest Process
The most common mistake that people make during the arrest process and the easiest thing to avoid is talking too much. People who are being investigated for a criminal offense often think that that would be the best time to give their explanation, and the fact is it is just not. The best time to give an explanation is after the arrest takes place. Although most people facing the possibility of arrest want to do everything they could to avoid actually being arrested, the best thing they could do is to remain silent and to preserve their right to have an attorney present and to not incriminate themselves.
There are other less common mistakes people make such as being rude, aggressive, or assaulting a police officer, but the most common mistake people make is trying to talk their way out of being arrested or explain the situation. An arrest is simply not the right time to explain a situation.
How Prince William County Arrests Work if a Person Has Been Indicted First
If a person is indicted and they are aware that they have been indicted, they would have an opportunity to appear in court to set their case for trial. They would then be arrested or processed and released. If an individual is not aware they have been indicted, then when their name is called for term date as to set that case for trial, they would not be aware of that, and the judge would issue a warrant for their arrest, called a capias. The sheriff would essentially pick the person up on that capias so they could go in front of a court to set a court date for the indictment.
Chances People Have to Surrender Themselves
If an individual knows that they have been indicted or that they are soon to be indicted by the grand jury, they could surrender themselves. They could appear the day after the grand jury and set their case for trial, in which case the judge would set the case for trial and, in some instances, even order the magistrate to release the person on bond. They still would have to be processed and would be formally arrested, but they would be released the same day.
How Surrendering Could Help a Person’s Case
There are many circumstances in which surrendering or turning oneself in could be helpful. One of the main things that it could be helpful for is in future bargaining or if there is a future sentencing event. If someone is ultimately convicted and sentenced, it is helpful to be able to argue that they have been cooperative and compliant with the court orders so far. Generally, at sentencing, an individual would be asking the court to grant them some type of favorable treatment, and it is easier for the court to do that if the individual has been taking steps all along to comply with the court and to be cooperative.
Surrendering could also be helpful for having a bond set initially to arrange to turn oneself in. In cases where an individual is arrested without turning themselves in, they cannot control the circumstances at all and they may be arrested at work or in any other number of inconvenient circumstances. Whereas, if someone is able to arrange a time to turn themselves in, they could meet their attorney and the officer and the magistrate, and have the magistrate see that they have an attorney and are obviously planning to appear in court.
Some magistrates may even take time to speak with the individual’s attorney about any possible concerns they have before setting a bond. From the outset, it is more helpful to arrange to turn oneself in because it is easier to have a bond set rather than if they are arrested. It could also be helpful in negotiating with the prosecutor or in asking a judge at the end of the day to grant the individual some consideration if they have taken steps to show their level of cooperation.
Contact an Experienced Defense Representative Today
Finding yourself facing a charge of any magnitude from Prince William County could make you feel as if life has spiraled out of control. While there may be little choice in whether or not to face the courts, there are choices you could make along the way that could improve your chances of a favorable courtroom outcome. Hiring an attorney familiar with Prince William County arrests could be a good place to start. Reach out to a legal representative today.