Before officers can arrest you, they must be reasonably sure you committed a crime. In general, this means they need to see you commit the crime, have an arrest warrant, or have other probable cause. Arresting officers also must be sure you understand your Miranda rights, the two most important being:
othe right to remain silent
othe right to an attorney.
After your arrest, you'll be taken to the police station. Officers will likely fingerprint you, photograph you, and confiscate your personal belongings. This procedure is called booking.
For the most part, as long as you haven't been charged with murder, North Carolina law requires that you be released on your own recognizance. When this happens, you don't have to pay bail. You must only sign a promise that you'll show up in court at a later time. If you're not released on your own recognizance, either a magistrate -- which is a judicial official -- or a judge will usually decide your bail within 48 hours of your arrest. You may either pay the bail yourself or contract with a bondsman to post a surety bond for you. Bondsmen usually charge from 10 to 15 percent of the bail total.
At your arraignment, a judge will formally tell you about the complaint against you. If you're charged with a misdemeanor, you can then enter your plea though I would strongly advise against entering a plea without speaking with a lawyer first. If you're charged with a felony, the judge still reads the charges, but you can't enter a plea. If the state decides to pursue the case, you'll have a second arraignment and you can make your plea at that time. In general, you will either plead guilty, admitting to the crime, or not guilty. A not guilty plea does not mean you're claiming innocence. It just means that you're not admitting to having committed the crime.
Hire a Criminal Lawyer
This is only a brief overview of the criminal process in North Carolina. It may not cover the details of your case. It's a good idea to assert your right to legal counsel as soon as possible after being arrested. You can call the Law Offices of Wiley Nickel for a free consultation about your charges. We can be reached through our avvo.com profile.
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