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Do the Philadelphia Police Have to Tell You Why They Are Arresting You?

We have all at one point watched a cop show or courtroom drama and seen an arrest. However, while Hollywood can be surprisingly accurate, it is largely fictional and should not be taken as fact. On TV, we usually hear the police tell a suspect what they are being arrested for as they are being arrested. In reality, the circumstances of an arrest are more complicated.

The police do not have to inform arrestees of the reason behind their arrest during the arrest. However, it is fairly normal for a police officer to let the arrestee know. In situations where an explanation is not possible or practical, the arrest will not be invalidated. While you might not be told why you are being arrested right away, the circumstances of your arrest are usually made clear relatively quickly. You must be formally notified of the official charge against you at your arraignment.

If you were arrested and not quite sure why, appointing legal counsel would be imperative to your best interests. Our Philadelphia criminal defense lawyers can help you figure out why you were arrested and fight the charges against you. For a free, private legal consultation, call The Law Offices of Lloyd Long at (215) 302-0171.

Are Philadelphia Police Officers Required to Tell You the Reason for Your Arrest?

Contrary to popular belief, the police are not legally required to inform you why you are being arrested. However, they usually must tell you when you are, in fact, being arrested. This difference may seem small, but it is crucial. You must know when you are under arrest because certain legal rights take effect. You must be informed so you can take advantage of the rights afforded to you. However, the precise reasons for your arrest might not be disclosed until later.

Police do not have to tell you why you are being arrested, but it is not unusual for the police to disclose this reason if it is practical. For example, if the police show up on your doorstep with a warrant for your arrest, they will probably tell you what the warrant is for. They might give you a general explanation, such as that the warrant is for a burglary, but they do not have to explain the probable cause behind the warrant.

However, if your arrest takes place under more dangerous circumstances, you might be arrested and taken away before being informed as to why. For example, if the police break up a violent fight, they will likely arrest you and take you to the police station before explaining to you exactly why you were arrested. Under the circumstances, preventing further violence trumps all.

Keep in mind that the reason for your arrest does not necessarily reflect the official charges, which typically come later. You could be arrested for an aggravated assault, but you might ultimately be charged with simple assault. In some cases, there is not enough evidence to support any criminal charges after an arrest.

What Happens After I Am Arrested in Philadelphia?

Multiple steps come after being arrested, each with its own rules and procedures. Once you are arrested, there is a good chance the police will question you. If you are questioned while being held in police custody, you must be informed of your Miranda rights. These rights include your right to remain silent and your right to an attorney during the questioning process. The outcome of any police interrogation sessions could greatly influence the direction of your criminal case. It is important to seize this opportunity and demand an attorney.

After your arrest, you will also go through several pre-trial stages of the criminal process. Perhaps the most significant pre-trial steps are your arraignment and your bail hearing. At your arraignment, you must be informed of the formal charges against you. Remember, these official charges could be somewhat different than the reasons you were arrested. Your bail hearing usually happens very close in time to your arraignment. You could be released on bail, or you could be held in jail until your trial. Most defendants are granted bail as outright denials of bail are rare and typically reserved for extreme cases.

At this point, trial preparations may begin. You will work with your attorney to begin mounting the most effective defense possible for your case. Our Bucks County criminal defense attorneys can help you fight your charges.

What Rights Do I Have Throughout the Rest of the Criminal Court Process in Philadelphia?

Once arrested, you will likely be Mirandized, which provides numerous rights during your interactions with police while in custody. You have the right to be represented by an attorney and the right to remain silent. It is usually a good idea to invoke both these rights, as anything you tell the police may be used against you later.

You also have the right to be informed of the charges against you, which usually happens at a formal arraignment. While a criminal defendant must be informed of their charges, this right only covers your arraignment. You could be informed of your charges earlier, like when you are arrested, but it is not legally required.

You are also entitled to know all the evidence the prosecution has gathered against you. This is referred to as Discovery and is required so defendants can build the best case possible for themselves. Eventually, you will learn the full details of why the police arrested you. You will be informed of the formal charges, and you will learn about each piece of evidence the police gathered. You may even see a copy of the arrest warrant if one was used. However, all this could come after your arrest. Our Delaware County criminal defense lawyers will help you make sense of the evidence against you so you can defend yourself against your charges.

Call Our Seasoned Philadelphia Criminal Defense Lawyers Today

If you have been arrested in Philadelphia, but you are not sure why, our legal team can help you. Our Philadelphia criminal defense attorneys will fight for your rights at every turn and question the actions of the police and prosecutors. Call The Law Offices of Lloyd Long at (215) 302-0171 for a free legal consultation.