After watching television shows like NCIS, Law and Order, and JAG, you may think you know everything there is to know about the criminal process. When it happens to you or a family member in real life, however, you may not be as savvy as you thought.

Unfortunately, false charges, wrongful convictions, and excessive sentencing are not all that uncommon. This is why, depending on the charge, it is essential that you have the proper advice, guidance, and support throughout each stage of a criminal prosecution. Otherwise, you may wind up paying for someone else’s mistake.

What to Expect After an Arrest

When you’re accused of a crime, the first thing you need to do is contact a reliable defense attorney. With over 20 years of experience, Charles Van Hardenbergh will not only walk you through the criminal process, he can make sure that your defense is as strong as possible. However, if you don’t have experienced and dependable representation, you’ll be forced to go it alone through the following stages after your arrest:

  • Booking. The suspect is taken to police headquarters, fingerprinted, photographed, etc., while awaiting interrogation.
  • Bail. For minor crimes, suspects can often pay a pre-determined amount at the police station and be released almost immediately. For more serious crimes, suspects must await a bail hearing.
  • Formal charges. If the prosecutor determines there is sufficient evidence or “probable cause” to bring a formal charge against the suspect, a complaint, or charging document, will be filed.
  • Arraignment. Court appearance where the judge reads the charges against the suspect and asks for a plea of guilty or not guilty.
  • Preliminary hearing. In this court appearance, the judge will determine whether the prosecution has sufficent evidence to proceed and, if so, the suspect is "bound over" until a trial date is set.

Whether you are guilty or not, attempting to go through these procedures without a defense attorney at your side will not work in your favor. Trust us, knowing someone has your back during these crucial stages of your arrest could make the difference between an acquittal and a conviction.

For more information on your rights to have proper defense representation, contact us today! We’ll be happy to show you how a good defense can make a big difference throughout your criminal process. Call us at (804) 835-5127 for a free consultation.