For a lot of people, the criminal justice system is a bit of a mystery. Some may have a general idea about how legal processes work, but very few have a deep understanding of what exactly will happen to them if they are arrested. Not knowing what to expect can create major anxiety for someone who has been, or is anticipating being, arrested.
If you’re searching for what happens when you’re arrested in Idaho, you are probably feeling confused and a bit frightened for yourself or a loved one. The criminal justice system doesn’t have to remain a mystery. Here, we will discuss what happens when you’re arrested in Idaho and provide some tips on what you should do during the process.
When Can You Be Arrested?
In Idaho, there are three situations in which a person can be arrested. The police can arrest you if they physically see you commit a crime, have probable cause to believe you committed a felony, or have a warrant issued by a judge. Note that probable cause alone is not enough to trigger an immediate arrest for misdemeanor crimes. As of 2019, the Idaho Supreme Court ruled that police may not arrest you for a misdemeanor crime unless they witnessed you commit it, or they have a warrant.
If you are concerned that your situation doesn’t fall under these circumstances, inform your attorney so they can investigate the circumstances of your arrest.
The Process of an Arrest in Idaho
First, you are taken into custody.
During an arrest, police officers will give you orders. Politely comply with instructions. Do not run, fight, or talk back – even if you believe you are being arrested unfairly. Once an arrest is initiated, you will not be able to talk yourself out of it. Being combative or fleeing can only do more harm and may lead to more charges.
You will be asked basic questions such as your name, date of birth, and address. Police officers will ask for a form of identification, as well as insurance and registration if you were driving.
Officers will most likely try to question you about what you were doing. You do NOT have to answer these questions, nor should you. If police are questioning you about what you were doing, who you were with, or any details about the alleged crime, it’s time to ask for a lawyer. If they continue trying to get details from you, keep asking for a lawyer.
Next, you are processed and entered into the local jail’s system.
The arresting officer will transport you to their local facility. Depending on the circumstances of your arrest, you may first be taken to the local police station for an interview while officers fill out necessary forms and paperwork. You do not have to answer any questions other than basic information about yourself. After this, you will be taken to the local jail. If it’s a loved one who has been arrested, it may take a few hours after the arrest for them to be processed and show up in the jail’s system. If you are calling to inquire about a loved one who was recently arrested, do not panic if the jail doesn’t have a record of them within a few hours of the arrest.
Upon arrival, you will be processed and your information entered into the jail’s system. This includes fingerprinting and basic questions such as name, address, and date of birth. From there, you will be moved to a general holding area or a separate room for questioning. Prior to questioning, you may be given a form to acknowledge your rights. Always read these forms carefully, particularly if you are being asked to sign. If the form only states your constitutional rights, you may sign it. If you have questions or are unsure, request to have your attorney look it over.
While in custody, you will be constantly monitored. Everything you say can be heard. If you are with someone else in holding, do not give them any information regarding your situation or your charges. Phone calls in Idaho jails are recorded, so be careful not to make self-incriminating statements. It’s incredibly easy to give information that can be used against you.
It is a common belief that you will immediately be given a phone call upon being processed. The rules surrounding phone calls and when they may be given are governed by local laws, and different facilities have different protocols. Do not become combative if you are not given your phone call right away. It may take several hours before you are allowed a call.
Finally, you will attend initial court proceedings.
Within 24 hours of being arrested, you will have your first appearance in front of a judge. This initial hearing is typically referred to as the preliminary arraignment or bail hearing. At this point, the judge will inform you of your rights and what you can expect in the following court proceedings. If you don’t have an attorney at this time, you will have the chance to obtain one. If you cannot afford an attorney, the judge will appoint a public defender. Then, the judge will review your charges and set bail. You will receive a notice with your next court date. This notice must be signed once you receive it, verifying for the court that you received this important information. If you are denied bail, you will not be able to leave the facility.
What happens next is complicated and depends entirely on the charges against you.
The next steps of your case are highly dependent on the charges brought against you. How to proceed is best navigated with an experienced attorney by your side. An experienced attorney has seen it all before and will have detailed knowledge of the criminal justice system. You will be kept informed of each step of the process, so you don’t have to worry about what comes next.
Being arrested is often a scary, confusing process, whether it is happening to you or a loved one. Understanding what you can expect in those early days can help soothe some of the anxiety that comes with being taken into custody.