A person becomes involved in the criminal justice system when a police officer places them under arrest. Being arrested in Chester County, PA can be an intimidating and scary experience. If this is your situation, it's important that you gain an understanding of what this system entails, and how to navigate it. In this article, we will address what to expect when arrested, examples of a lawful arrest, and the important role an attorney plays throughout this process. For more information about the arrest process, or your specific case, contact experienced attorney Joseph D. Lento today.
What To Expect When Arrested
When an individual is arrested in Chester County, he or she can bet on an early release. An arrest doesn't necessarily result in being immediately taken into custody and held until a judge determines bail. In cases involving a summary offense or a misdemeanor charge, a person will be taken into custody and only be held until their information is obtained. At a later time, they'll be scheduled to appear at an appointment for fingerprinting and photos. People with felonies or with extensive criminal records, however, have a heightened chance of not being released without bond. After an appointment has been attended in any case, a person will be mailed a summons to attend court for a Chester County Preliminary Hearing.
A Lawful Arrest in Chester County
Identifying if an arrest is lawful or unlawful is important. An experienced attorney can help you in determining this fact. But, in case you need some reminding, a person can be lawfully arrested under several circumstances.
An officer can personally observe a person commit a crime and decide to arrest them. For instance, let's say that while on patrol an officer witnesses a drug deal. The officer can, based on the personal perception of drug possession and sale, arrest the parties involved.
A crime does not have to be committed in front of an officer for one to make an arrest. To constitute a lawful arrest, all an officer has to do is establish probable cause. Probable cause exists when an officer forms a reasonable belief based on facts or circumstances that a person has committed, or is planning to commit a criminal act. For example, let's say an officer pulls over a vehicle that appears to have been driving recklessly. When pulled over, the officer claims that he or she can smell the scent of alcohol on a suspect's breath, that their eyes are bloodshot red, and that they are visibly nervous. This observation alone can substantiate the necessary element of probable cause for a DUI arrest.
Lastly, a police officer can arrest a person in Chester County if a warrant has been issued. A warrant is a legal document issued by a judge or magistrate that orders the immediate arrest of a person who allegedly committed a crime.
Chester County Criminal Defense Attorney
A common mistake that most people make is not retaining a criminal defense attorney soon enough. In order to maximize one's chances of a successful trial outcome, an attorney should be around to advise a defendant from the beginning, when a defendant is making statements to the police or investigators, to the end, when it comes time to defend them in a trial.
Joseph D. Lento has extensive experience helping numerous clients with misdemeanor and felony charges get their charges reduced and dismissed. Contact him online or give him a call at (215) 535-5353 at the earliest available opportunity for assistance.