Being arrested by a law enforcement officer is something that no one ever wants to experience. The arrest process is, to say the least, unnerving, leaving the accused flustered and more prone to making lapses in judgement. Unfortunately, law enforcement is well aware of this, and officers often take advantage of the situation by tricking the accused into incriminating themselves.
If you’re arrested following an alleged assault, you may not necessarily be charged with a crime. In fact, the decisions you make during and following your arrest may greatly impact your likelihood of ultimately being charged with assault or a related offense.
Knowing what to expect ahead of time will help you make the right judgement calls should you ever be arrested. That’s why we’ve provided a guide of what the arrest process should look like in Illinois, and how to avoid incriminating yourself once in police custody.
The Basics on Miranda Rights
When you are arrested by a police officer, this means that you are in police custody and are not free to leave. If you are arrested, you will be taken to a local police station. If the police believe that there is sufficient evidence to prove you committed a crime, you will be charged. However, if police believe that they need more evidence, they may hold you in custody for a limited time for questioning.
Before police can question you, they must notify you of your Miranda rights, which you’ve probably heard on TV before:
- You have the right to remain silent.
- Anything you say can and will be used against you in Court.
- You have the right to have an attorney present while you are being questioned.
- You will be provided with an attorney if you cannot afford one.
This part of the arrest is very important. If police fail to notify you of your Miranda rights, they cannot use any statements made during questioning against you in court. However, this does not apply to any statements made voluntarily prior to being notified of your rights.
We cannot emphasize enough that you absolutely should not speak to the police without an attorney present – under any circumstances. Many people mistakenly believe that if they explain the situation to the police, they’ll be free to go. Unfortunately, this usually isn’t the case.
Even if you believe yourself to be completely innocent, you may still be tricked into incriminating yourself. Police are even allowed to lie during questioning – for example, by stating that they have witnesses or evidence implicating your guilt, when they in fact do not.
You should always have a criminal defense attorney present before speaking to police. An attorney will advocate for you and protect you from common tactics used to trick suspects into admitting guilt.
Two Types of Assault Arrests in Illinois
If you are charged with assault, you will be processed at the police station. What happens next depends on whether you are being charged with felony or misdemeanor assault.
Misdemeanor Arrest. In Illinois, simple assault is charged as a misdemeanor. In this case, you will be allowed to post bond at the police station, and will be given a court date.
However, if you are charged with misdemeanor domestic battery, you may also be taken to court for a bond hearing, and for the judge to impose any necessary restrictions, for example protective orders for the alleged victim.
Felony Arrest: Aggravated assault may be charged as a felony. If charged with a felony, you will be processed at the police station. Your picture and fingerprints will be taken, and you will be run through a computer system to pull up your entire criminal background. You will then be taken to Bond Court for a bond hearing.
Remember: what you do following your arrest often determines whether you will ultimately face criminal charges. Be aware of your rights, and never speak to police without an attorney present.
About the Author:
Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience in handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, murder, and drug crimes.