Criminal Case Stages: Arrest and Bail in the San Jose and San Mateo Areas

What to Expect When You are Arrested in the Peninsula or San Jose Area and What Happens After Your Arrest

Many people have a basic idea what happens during an arrest because they have heard about it from family or friends or seen it on television. The most basic thing to remember is that to be arrested, law enforcement must have probable cause to arrest you. This means they must have reasonable grounds to believe that you are guilty of a crime.

Not all arrests require law enforcement to have an arrest warrant. Arrests can be made, for example, immediately if the crime is in progress, is a DUI, or a domestic violence case. At the time of your arrest and the time after, there are several questions that you may have. We'll answer a few here, but please call our office for a free consultation to address your specific situation.

What are Miranda Warnings?

This is one of the most recognizable parts of the criminal justice process. Miranda warnings advise people under arrest of their rights during criminal proceedings before interrogation. When a person is arrested in the San Francisco Bay Area, failure to administer Miranda warnings will affect the admissibility of any statements that a defendant makes to law enforcement.

While television often shows Miranda warnings being administered at the same time as arrest, in reality, they are often administered right before interrogation begins. Do not worry about the order of the Miranda warnings. Instead, ask to speak to counsel and then remain silent. All questioning by law enforcement officials should stop as soon as you request the assistance of counsel. Remaining silent alone, however, will not stop questioning.

What is the Booking Process?

Once you have been handcuffed and taken to the police station, you will be booked for processing. This means that they will take your photo, search you (this may include a strip search), take your fingerprints, and place you in a holding cell until you can see a judge.

During processing or after being placed in a jail cell, although you may be confused and scared, do not panic. Retain your right to remain silent. If the police approach you again for questioning, reaffirm that you want counsel present and stay quiet.

What is Arraignment?

After arrest and booking, you will eventually be taken for an appearance before a judge. This court appearance is called arraignment. It is supposed to take place within 48 hours of your arrest, although, unfortunately, there are many times in San Jose and San Mateo county courts where this does not happen. Many jurisdictions provide a 72-hour window for arraignment hearings to allow for offenders who are arrested over the weekend or holidays.

At your arraignment hearing, you will be read your rights and told the charges that have been filed against you. You will then be able to answer the charges placed against you and enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest. A no contest plea has the same effect as a guilty plea without you actually admitting guilt. The court will advise you of your constitutional rights and appoint you an attorney free of charge if you cannot afford to hire one.

If you've already hired the Law Office of James Dunn, we will instruct you to plead not guilty. In some situations your attorney can appear for you at arraignment and enter your plea. Please ask us about this possibility at your free initial consultation.

How do Bail and Bonds Work?

Once the charges against you have been announced and your plea has been entered, bail will be set. In the state of California, bail is set by a schedule in each county. Bail is insurance that assures that you will return to court for future court dates. The amount of bail will be determined by the following:

  • How serious the crime was
  • Ties you have to the community
  • Criminal history
  • Whether you are a flight risk or not

You will be asked to pay a portion of money or be released on your own recognizance for no money. If you are unable to pay the bail amount, you can seek the assistance of a bail bondsman. This person will pay the entire bail amount for you and will likely charge 10% of the bail amount as a fee for providing you service. This fee will be non-refundable.

In some cases, you will be able to make bail shortly after being arrested. People in these situations are more than likely citation and release arrestees who are arrested and booked, then are released with a court date. If the alleged crime is too serious, or the bail is too high, the suspect will stay in jail until his or her first court appearance.

What Does it Mean to be Bound Over?

Arraignment hearings are able to be handled by any judge in any criminal court. If you appear at your arraignment before a lower judge and you are being charged with a felony, or your misdemeanor is upgraded to a felony charge, you will be bound over until you see a Superior Court judge for a felony arraignment. At the arraignment in Superior Court, you will enter your plea again and you will have the opportunity to review the initial determination for bail. The bail amount could be decreased or increased depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, including any new developments.

What are Your Rights When in Jail?

If you are found guilty and sentenced to time in jail, or while you are awaiting your arraignment hearing, you have certain rights including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Due process
  • Freedom from unusual and cruel punishment
  • Freedom from sexual harassment
  • Freedom from discrimination
  • Freedom of speech and religion
  • Freedom to state any concerns you have about the jail or prison conditions
  • Medical care
  • Reasonable accommodations if you are disabled

Why do You Need a San Mateo Criminal Defense Attorney?

When you are arrested you have the right to remain silent and be represented by an attorney. It is rarely a good idea to speak to law enforcement officials about your crime without an attorney present. Consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney can ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process and keep you from doing any harm to your case. An experienced criminal defense attorney can also work to decrease your bail and at times reduce the charges that you are facing.

The attorneys at the Law Office of James Dunn have decades of experience helping people who are facing criminal charges make sure their rights are protected. We will review your case and determine the best possible defense for your situation. Contact us today for a consultation at one of our convenient Bay Area office locations in San Jose, Redwood City, Palo Alto and Dublin/Pleasanton.


Half the Cost, Twice the Work

Jim Dunn fixed my previous lawyers blunders, literally cost half as much, didn't charge me until my case was settled. He got me the best possible outcome after miscommunications with the courts, mostly my previous lawyer was to blame. There were countless little things that Jim did that won't get named here, but he visited me in Jail on a Sunday evening, he fixed the miswriting of the court scribe, a last minute catch on Jim's part, my case was first, his pay was second. I like him, he is personable, he called to check on me, I could call him and actually reach him, not go through a secretary and hope to be reached in the same day like my last lawyer. I would definitely hire him again and even form a partnership to become the family lawyer. If you have a run in with with law, you want Jim Dunn on your side, he only tells you the truth, and genuinely wants to help you!

Reviewer: Charlie M. — September 4, 2015 - San Mateo, CA