The process of arrest in California is a result of a long line of judicial decisions and procedural rules laid out for compliance. The following are the highlights of the process of arrest in California.

An individual is considered arrested when there is an individual suspected of committing a criminal offense and that person is taken into physical custody. Being in custody means that the freedom of movement of the individual suspected of crime is limited at any given time by police officers. This limitation on movement can be any place, whether outside or within a police station. The key factor in the determination of an arrest is that the individual is not allowed to walk away from the authorities’ physical presence.

Once the physical custody is taken, the law requires that an arrested individual’s Miranda rights be read to them. In the case of Miranda vs. US, the doctrine was set in stone by the Supreme Court requiring police authorities to read out the following rights in a language understood by the arrested individual:

  1. The arrested individual has the right to remain silent and refuse to respond to any question asked by police authorities;
  2. Any and all statements made by the individual arrested may be used against that person in court of law;
  3. The accused has the right to an attorney before being interviewed by the police authorities and has the right to have that attorney present during such interview and any other subsequent proceeding regarding the case;
  4. If the accused cannot afford an attorney, the police authorities are required to provide the arrested individual with an appointed attorney during the custodial investigation process;
  5. At any given time the arrested individual can refuse to answer questions during the investigation when there is no attorney present for and on their behalf;

The police authorities must confirm that these rights as read were understood by the arrested individual during the arrest.

These rights are required only when the individual has been arrested and is undergoing custodial investigation. All questions asked before the arrest and custodial investigation need not be “Mirandized”.

When an individual is stopped by the police authorities, the police have the right to search the person’s and immediate vicinity to determine if there is a weapon present. This immediate search during an arrest is also important to find if there is illegal contraband, stolen items or other prohibited effects. This search would be allowed at the vehicle, residence or work place or any other place within the immediate vicinity of the arrested individual.

The rights of the individual regarding phone calls are dependent on the state’s rules of custody. While almost all of the states recognize this privilege, many allow arrested individuals a phone call to allow the individual to reach out to someone and find help in their predicament.

Once the arrest has been made, the individual’s personal details would be entered into the criminal records system. This process is called “being booked” or “going to booking”. It is at this point that the fingerprints, photographs or mug shots as well as pertinent information is taken from the arrested individual.

After booking, all the personal items found on the person of the arrested individuals would be taken and placed into safekeeping. This means articles of clothing, money, jewelry and personal identification would be placed in a paper bag under lock and key. All the items would be inventoried and the illegal items would then be confiscated to become part of the evidence for the case.

This is the summary of the process of arrest in California. The arrested individual would be required to consent to this process but adequate safeguards are put in place in order to protect the rights of the arrested individual undergoing custodial investigation.

The arrest process is a serious legal activity in California. Should you be or know anyone undergoing this process, do reach out to the lawyers at the Law Offices of Ramiro J. Lluis for a free consultation today.