We all have the same legal and constitutional rights. Whether it’s for a misdemeanor charge or a felony charge, the legal system has to follow the rules for making arrests and stating the charges.

When a person is being arrested, their first thought is often about prison and fear. Their first question is often, “What are you charging me with?” The legal system is required to provide an answer to this question, but not immediately at the time of the arrest.

In today’s blog from the team at MRD Lawyers, we give you an answer to this important question: “How long after my arrest will I find out my charges?”

The Process of Being Charged After an Arrest

Each person who is arrested has a constitutional right to a speedy trial, and that includes the process before the trial: the arrest, the booking, and the charges.

Many people think that the arresting officer is the person who decides what charges are filed for the alleged crime, but it’s actually the prosecutor’s office that will decide what charges are filed.

Once the arrest has been completed, the police officer turns the case over to the prosecutor’s office, and that’s when the clock starts ticking. If a person gets arrested and held in Missouri, the prosecutor’s office must decide what charges to file within 24 hours if they want to continue to hold that person in custody.

MRD Lawyers Quick Tip: It is important to note that the first charges that the prosecutor declares are not set in stone. After they gather more evidence (or find no evidence), the prosecutor may add new charges or drop the declared charges.

Important Terms to Understand

Before an accused person is formally charged with a crime, several things will usually happen first: Arrest, Booking, and Arraignment. Read on to learn the details about these important terms.

Arrest – This is when an accused person is being held by law enforcement for an alleged crime. Police may only arrest a person if they have probable cause to think that a crime has taken place and the accused person committed that crime — but they are wrong a lot, so MRD Lawyers is here to help.

Booking – The booking takes place after the arrest. This is when the police officer takes the accused person’s personal information, fingerprints, and photographs. Once the booking is complete, the case goes to the prosecutor’s office and the 24 hour clock starts ticking.

Arraignment – This is when the court gives the official charges and the judge asks for a guilty, not guilty, or no contest plea. This is an incredibly important moment for your defense, so you will really want an experienced defense attorney by your side.

Contact MRD Lawyers in Springfield, Missouri

One of the most common questions people have when they are arrested is, “When will I find out my charges?” The answer to this question can sometimes be complicated. If you have been arrested and you have questions about your legal defense, it’s time to contact an experienced defense attorney who can help.

MRD Lawyers has more than 30 years of award-winning legal experience in Springfield, Missouri, and we are ready to go to work for you. If you are ready to prepare a strong defense, contact MRD Lawyers today.

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