The physical taking or seizing of a person by a police officer constitutes an arrest. You are under arrest when your ability to move freely is significantly curtailed. The specific facts of your case are important in determining the moment of arrest– 1) are there multiple officers in uniform displaying their badge of authority? 2) are the officers making commands? 3) has your license been taken such that you cannot leave the scene? 4) what words are being used? 5) would a reasonable person feel free to leave?
Once arrested, and being interrogated (being asked questions or statements being made which would be intended to illicit a response), it is important to remember your rights as the statements you make can, and almost always do, have a negative impact on your case.
Right to Remain Silent
You have a constitutional right to remain to silent. Getting an attorney involved at the earliest juncture can help ensure the best results for your case. In order to stop an interrogation, you must make an unequivocal, clear request for an attorney. The words and tone you use are important in determining whether you demand for counsel meets the standard.
Invoking your Right to Counsel
To any questions, comments, statements posed by the police, you should respond, “I want my attorney now.” It is important that your demand for an attorney be in the correct form. Virginia Courts have held that these following statements were not clear unequivocal requests for an attorney “1. You did say I could have an attorney, if I wanted one?” Eaton v. Commonwealth, 240 Va. 236 (1990). 2) “Can I speak to my lawyer? I can’t even talk to my lawyer before making any kinds of comments or anything?” Commonwealth v. Redmond, 264 Va. 321 (2002) 3.) ““Do you think I need an attorney here?” Mueller v. Commonwealth, 244 Va. 386 (1992). Again, your demand for an attorney should be assertive and in the form of a statement, not a question, and it must be clear and unambiguous.
The next steps after arrest are booking and bond. You will be photographed and fingerprinted, and then brought before a magistrate who will determine whether to grant you bond. Various questions will be asked of you by the magistrate. Specifically, you’ll be asked about your highest level of education, employment status, address, family, and ties to the community. The bond should be geared at ensuring that you will be at all future court dates and ensuring that you will not pose a danger to the community. If you are admitted to bail on a secured bond, it must be paid in order for you to be released from jail. If you cannot afford to pay the entire amount, you can contact a bail bondsman who will only require a percentage of the amount to be paid. If the magistrate decides not to release you, an attorney can file a bond motion and request that it be heard in a timely fashion. A judge will preside over this hearing and make a determination regarding whether to admit you to bail and under what conditions.
If you have any questions about the process or your Northern Virginia charges, please feel free to give us a call at McCollum Legal.