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No one wants it to happen but sometimes we find ourselves in a terrible situation that leads to the unthinkable- going to jail. It is a good idea to be prepared and have an idea of what might happen if you are arrested. 

What Happens When You Get Arrested

An arrest can be made with an arrest warrant or without a warrant if probable cause and exigent circumstances exist at the time of the arrest. The officer has probable cause if he has a reasonable belief that the suspect committed a crime based on the facts he has at the time of arrest.

If the officer only asks a few questions or requests identification it is likely not an arrest. A  police officer will usually tell you that you are being arrested but if you are in doubt you may (politely) ask if you are free to go. If you have been handcuffed or placed in a patrol car it is reasonable to assume you are under arrest. Once you have been legally arrested a police officer can perform a limited search of your person and the area within your immediate control to ensure you don’t have a weapon or a chance to destroy evidence. 

What Are My Rights When I’m Arrested

When you are arrested you have the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney when being questioned by the police. It is important to note that in Washington the police are not required to give you this “Miranda Rights” warning unless they are actually questioning you. You may answer basic questions such as your name but be aware that you are not required to answer questions about specific crimes and should invoke your rights if asked to do so.

The importance of these rights cannot be overstated. Once you have been arrested, the police will be taking note of any information you volunteer to them whether you have been read your rights yet or not. It is in your best interest to exercise your rights and remain silent and request an attorney

What Happens When I Arrive at the County Jail

Once arrested, the police will transport and book you into the jail in the county in which you were arrested. The booking process involves taking your information and checking for warrants, making an inventory of your personal property and storing it, fingerprinting and mugshots. For some minor offenses you may be released and given a court date to attend. Some misdemeanor offenses will have preset bail amounts that you can pay and be released until your court date. In other situations you will be brought before a judge to set bail within 48 hours. It is possible to request reduced bail or different conditions of release. You may want to consult an attorney to get the most favorable terms for release. If you have questions about a criminal case, contact us at or (253) 236- 4079.

What happens when I get arrested?

If you have questions about your case, please contact us at or (253) 236-4079.

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