I've Been Arrested, Now What?


If you are taken into custody when you are arrested, police officers may want to talk with you about your case.  Before talking with you, the police must read you your Miranda rights, often referred to as a Miranda advisement, or a Miranda warning.  The police are not required to read you your rights if they only ask basic questions, such as your name, where you live, etc.  However, if they intend to ask you specific questions, such as asking you to “tell your side of the story,” they must read you your rights first, as follows:

You have the right to remain silent.

You have the right to remain silent.  Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.

Being in custody can be intimidating.   You do not have to answer any questions.  

You have the right to a lawyer.

You have the right to an attorney present during questioning.  If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you by the court.

  The law can be complicated; your lawyer will effectively represent you throughout your case and will meet with you to help you understand what is happening.  He or she will advocate for you at all court hearings and file any necessary documents to protect your rights.  If the Public Defender’s Office cannot represent you due to a conflict of interest, a private attorney will be assigned to you.


You have additional rights as well.  These include the following:

You have the right to a speedy trial.

You have a right to a have a trial within a certain numbers of days.  The period of time in which you have to be brought to trial varies between misdemeanors and felonies, and whether you are in or out of custody.

If you are charged with a misdemeanor and are out of custody, you have a right to a trial within 45 calendar days from the day of your arraignment. If you are being held in-custody you have a right to go to trial within 30 days. This 30 day right attaches even if you are released at arraignment; the controlling factor is the custody status at the time of arraignment.

On the other hand, if you are charged with a felony, custodial status is not relevant. A defendant has a right to a preliminary hearing within 10 court days (Monday thru Friday, excluding holidays).  You will be asked if you are willing to “waive” that right, which means you agree to have the hearing beyond the 10-day restriction.  There is also a rule that the hearing cannot take place 60 calendar days beyond the arraignment.  If you waive the 10-day rule, you will be asked if you are waiving the 60-day rule as well.  Often times it is beneficial for your attorney to have you waive one or both of these restrictions.  That will depend on the nature of the charge(s).

After the preliminary hearing, a defendant is arraigned on a new document, known as an “Information,” which is just like the original complaint that was filed by the District Attorney.  From that point you would have a right to a trial within 60 calendar days.  Again, the decision to waive time or to proceed within the statutory timeframe plays a crucial role in the case and therefore, a discussion should be held with the attorney to allow you to make an informed decision.

You have a right to a jury trial.

If you are charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, you have the right to demand a trial by jury. This means that 12 jury members picked from the community will carefully review the evidence presented at trial to decide whether you are guilty or not guilty of the crime(s) charged.  According to the law, you are innocent until proven guilty. This means that you cannot be found guilty of a crime unless all 12 people on the jury find you guilty by proof “beyond a reasonable doubt.”


We encourage you to contact the Office of Recovery and Reimbursement to determine if you qualify financially to be represented by the Public Defender.  You may reach them at (530) 251- 8227.  Their office is located at 221 South Lassen Street in Susanville, CA.