What to Expect From The Arrest Process in Virginia

October 9, 2023
arrested and handcuffed man on the street next to a car

In this overview, we’ll break down each step of the arrest procedure to provide a clear picture of what to expect.

1. The Initial Stop:

If a misdemeanor crime occurred and some time has passed before the arrest, the police must obtain a warrant. For felonies committed out of an officer’s sight, they can arrest based on probable cause, but a warrant is needed if there’s a delay between the crime and arrest.

Conversely, if officers witness a crime, whether felony or misdemeanor, they can make an immediate arrest without seeking a warrant from the magistrate. For instance, a driver might be pulled over due to a visible vehicle malfunction, like a broken taillight, or for more direct violations like speeding or running a red light. Moreover, erratic driving behavior can raise suspicions of DUI, leading to a more detailed investigation.

Sometimes, “stop and frisk” policies might result in pedestrian stops if there’s suspicion of criminal activity. While most stops are routine, it’s vital to understand your rights during these encounters, as they set the tone for any potential legal processes that follow.

2. Probable Cause:

To move forward with an arrest, officers must establish “probable cause.” In accordance with Virginia law (Code § 19.2-81), this means law enforcement has concrete reasons, based on facts and circumstances, to believe a specific individual has committed a crime. It’s more than just a hunch; it’s grounded in tangible evidence or observations.

3. The Arrest:

Once probable cause is established, you can be formally arrested. Before the police officer questions you, they are required to read you your Miranda rights. Your Miranda rights are the following:

  • You have the right to remain silent.
  • Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
  • You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you by the court.

You should exercise your right to remain silent until you have spoken to an attorney.

4. Booking:

After the arrest, you’ll be taken to the police station or local adult detention center for the booking process. Here, they’ll record your personal information, details of the alleged crime, and may take your photograph and fingerprints.

5. The Bail Process:

Depending on the severity of the crime, you might be eligible for bail. This is a financial agreement to secure your release from jail. If faced with this situation, consult with a Virginia criminal defense attorney who can provide guidance on the bail process.

6. The Court Process:

Once the arrest and booking processes are complete, the defendant enters the judicial system. The procedure begins with an arraignment where the accused is informed of the specific charges against them and asked about his or her plans for obtaining legal counsel.

Following this, the defense and prosecution may file pre-trial motions, which address legal rights, the admissibility of evidence, and other legal issues. Plea negotiations often ensue, where the defense and prosecution discuss potential plea bargains to avoid a full-blown trial. If no agreement is reached, the case moves to a trial where evidence is presented, witnesses are called, and ultimately, a verdict is rendered.

Defend Your Future: Choose Rudolphi Law

Every individual deserves robust legal representation. Don’t let unfamiliarity with the arrest process or the intricacies of Virginia’s legal system deter you from seeking the best possible defense. Reach out, get informed, and ensure your rights are staunchly defended.

If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges in Virginia, don’t wait. Contact Rudolphi Law today. Your future deserves the dedicated and knowledgeable representation we can offer.

If you’re seeking a Virginia criminal defense lawyer, Rudolphi Law is here to help.