What Happens If I Am Arrested?

By: LawInfo

After you have been arrested, there are certain timeframes and procedures that the prosecution and the court must follow.  Usually, the police will advise you of your Miranda rights (the right to remain silent, to have an attorney present during questioning, etc.) at the time of the arrest.  Once you are taken into custody, no statements can be used against you unless the police have read you your Miranda rights. 

If you are arrested for breaking a law, the case is taken before a magistrate who may issue a warrant if necessary and set a bond for an appearance in court. If the defendant cannot post the bond he may be incarcerated pending an appearance in court. If bond is posted, he will remain free pending appearance at the arraignment.

An arraignment usually occurs within 24 hours of the arrest or the first date available if on a weekend or holiday. The arraignment is held before a judge. During the arraignment the defendant is formally told what offense he is charged with, advised of their constitutional rights, and of the possible penalties. The defendant will enter a plea of guilty or not guilty and the bond may be reviewed and a date for the next hearing will be scheduled.

Where Do The Miranda Rights Come From?

The Miranda rights come from the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the 5th Amendment rule against self incrimination.  In 1966, the U.S. Supreme Court decided the historic case of Miranda v. Arizona, declaring that whenever a person is taken into police custody, before being questioned he or she must be told of the Fifth Amendment right not to make any self-incriminating statements.  The court also took into consideration an individual’s Sixth Amendment right to an attorney at every critical stage of the criminal process. 

The Supreme Court in the Miranda case did not specify the exact wording to be used when informing a suspect of his or her rights. However, the Court did create a set of guidelines which must be followed. The ruling states:

“The person in custody must, prior to interrogation, be clearly informed that he or she has the right to remain silent, and that anything the person says may be used against that person in court; the person must be clearly informed that he or she has the right to consult with an attorney and to have that attorney present during questioning, and that, if he or she is indigent, an attorney will be provided at no cost to represent him or her.”

What are the requirements for having a criminal record expunged?

The exact requirements for expungement vary from state to state, there are some expungement requirements that are commonly found in state expungement laws. In many states, a certain period of time must have passed since the date of the criminal record that you are seeking to have expunged. Some other common conditions for expungement might be that your criminal charges led to an acquittal or dismissal or that your arrest did not lead to any charges being filed. Often, states require that you have had no other arrests or criminal convictions since the date of the criminal record that you wish to have expunged.


While expungement effectively erases your criminal record, leaving you free to withhold its existence, there are still some circumstances in which you may have to disclose the record that was expunged. For instance, if you were running for public office or applying to become a licensed professional in some fields, you may be required to disclose arrests and/or crimes with which you were charged, even if the records have since been expunged.

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

Additional Arrest Articles

Search LawInfo's Arrest Resources