The criminal justice system is complex and overwhelming, especially for a defendant who has no previous experience with arrest or allegations of criminal activity. If you are under investigation for a crime or could face criminal charges at some point, you may find it helpful to understand what happens during an arrest and after the New Mexico police take you into custody. This knowledge could help you protect your rights and interests at every step.
When facing criminal charges, knowing what to expect can be helpful as you face a complicated process of court appearances and the potential for serious penalties if convicted. Regardless of what the police suspect you have done or what they are currently investigating you for, you have the right to a presumption of innocence and more. You have the right to challenge the case against you, as well as any treatment you experience that could be in violation of your constitutional rights.
Know what to expect
It may be helpful to know what to expect from the initial steps in the criminal justice system. After completing an investigation, witnessing suspected criminal activity or obtaining valid legal permission to search your property, law enforcement may take you into police custody. The following information may be useful in order to know what to expect next:
- Arrest — After you are in police custody, you no longer have freedom of movement. After apprehending you, they should explain your rights. There is a specific procedure law enforcement must follow when taking a suspect into custody.
- Booking — After an arrest, the police will take the suspect to booking. This includes taking your personal information, collecting anything you brought with you and making records about the arrest. They will then place you in a holding cell.
- Bail hearing — It may be possible to secure a temporary release from police custody at a bail hearing. A judge will only release you if he or she is confident you will return for future court hearings and will not commit any crimes in the interim.
Protecting your rights and future interests should begin as soon as possible after your arrest. You do not have to navigate any part of this process without appropriate guidance, and you may find it helpful to learn about the potential you have to secure bail as you await the next step in the criminal justice process.