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Whether it’s your first time or you have previously been arrested, there is no question that the event can be a significant source of stress and anxiety. Once you’ve been arrested, you have the right to request a criminal defense attorney. A defense lawyer in the Maryland and D.C. areas can help you understand your legal rights, ensure that those rights are protected, and walk you through the various steps of being released from jail.

Precinct Processing
After being handcuffed and taken to the appropriate precinct, you’ll undergo processing. A police officer will ask you about your basic information, such as your full name, address, Social Security number, date of birth, and similar information. You should answer these questions truthfully. You do not need your criminal defense attorney to be present for this interview; however, make sure that you avoid discussing the incident without your criminal justice lawyer’s presence. Processing also involves fingerprinting and photographing. Additionally, you will be searched and your personal property will be confiscated. You’ll receive a voucher for your personal property so that you may claim it upon your release. While you’re being held in a jail cell, the police officers will check to see if there are any outstanding warrants in your name. You can expect processing and your wait for arraignment to take at least several hours.

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Questioning
Police officers may not always question you right away with regards to the incident. When they do, they are required to read you your Miranda rights. In part, these rights state that you have the right to a lawyer and the right to remain silent. If you’re questioned by the police, you should immediately demand that your criminal defense attorney be present for the interview. Refuse to answer any questions regarding the incident until your lawyer is present.

Arraignment
Your criminal defense attorney can help you understand the process of arraignment. You’ll stand before the judge in court, at which time the charges against you will be read and you’ll be asked to plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest. The judge will determine the dates of the next steps in the legal process, and he or she may set a bail amount, release you on your own recognizance, or remand you to jail.