The Process of Arrest Through Incarceration

By Linda Ray

Arrest

An arrest takes place once a person is in police custody and unable to leave,. A series of laws follows an arrest. The Miranda Rights must be read to a suspect at the time of arrest. Five questions and statements must be put to the arrested person that include the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. The arrested person does not have to speak without an attorney present and if he does, anything said can be held against him in court. A suspect may stop talking at any time during the process as well. The police have the right to frisk the suspect for a weapon on the spot. Some places allow a suspect to place a phone call before being booked, while others complete the booking process before allowing a phone call.

Processing

The booking process involves fingerprinting and taking photos. The suspect is asked for personal information such as name, birth date and address. A suspect may be asked to stand in a lineup or give a handwriting sample. The waiting time between arrest and booking is required by law to be reasonable, not lasting for more than 24 hours. The police write a report and deliver it to the prosecuting attorney's office, which then decides what charges to file. The prosecutor must file charges within 48 to 72 hours, depending on the jurisdiction. The suspect is then brought before a judge and arraigned. The defendant pleads guilty or not guilty to the charges and the judge sets bail or releases the prisoner on his word to return. Bail is used to secure the return of the suspect for trial and can be paid in cash or through a bail bondsman. In serious crimes, the judge can refuse to release the prisoner on bail.

Conviction

The Constitution of the United States provides citizens with the right to a speedy trial and the right to face their accusers. When a defendant pleads not guilty to charges, a time is set for the trial. If the defendant pleads guilty, a time is set for a sentence to be decided. During a trial, both sides present witnesses and evidence to a jury or a judge, depending on the type of trial. A jury or judge deliberates to decide the guilt or innocence of the defendant. If convicted, the defendant may be released on bail until the time of sentencing or sent directly to jail to await sentencing.

Incarceration

A sentence is determined in a trial and is typically effective immediately. The defendant is taken out of the courtroom by the bailiffs and locked in the jail. Short sentences, under one year, may be served in local county jails, while longer sentences require incarceration in a prison. Transport is arranged and the prisoners are typically handcuffed together when being taken to another facility. Once the prisoner arrives at the place where he will serve his sentence, he goes through a search, showers and is given a uniform and assigned to a cell.

About the Author

Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."