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What Rights Do I Have When Getting Arrested in Northern New Jersey?

What Rights Do I Have When Getting Arrested in Northern New Jersey?

Getting arrested is a stressful experience.  Whether you have been arrested before or it is your first arrest, your mind will be racing, and you will have a ton of questions.  Most of this fear comes from the unfamiliarity with what happens during an arrest, where will they take me, and will I go to the county jail.

There is a lot of confusion about how arrests work and what happens after getting arrested.  This basic guide is intended to clear up some of those misconceptions.  If you are arrested in Northern New Jersey, Passaic, Bergen, Essex, Morris, and Hudson Counties, you must call a criminal attorney. Please call the Law Offices of David L. Pine (973) 427-7444.

What Happens When I Get Arrested?

Arrests take place in a few ways:

  1. Observation by a Law Enforcement Officer: if the police officer sees that a crime is being committed or has information to believe the crime was committed, and you get arrested immediately; or
  2. Arrest Warrant or Completed Investigation Leading to an Arrest Warrant - The police are tipped off about a crime, its investigated by the police, they then get an arrest warrant and arrest you.

What is Probable Cause?

The police need “Probable Cause,” that's enough proof that the crime occurred and that you committed it.  Probable cause is the minimum standard for any arrest.

Once the police slap the handcuffs on you, for all practical purposes, you are under arrest. At the actual scene of the arrest, police have the legal right to perform a “search incident to arrest.”  If the arrest is legal, the search will also be legal.  Anything they recover could be grounds for additional criminal charges. For example, if you are arrested based upon an arrest warrant for failure to appear in court, and when searched, you have heroin on your person, you will be charged with possession of heroin.

Once you are arrested, they should tell you, “You are under arrest.”  You will often be placed in a police car and taken to the police headquarters, and you will be placed in a local lockup at the police station.  


Forget your favorite police television shows guiding you, this isn't television or the movies. Television has created a myth that once you get arrested and placed in handcuffs, the police will immediately say, “You are under arrest.  You have the right to remain silent, anything that you say can and will be used against you in the court of law, if you can't afford an attorney, one will be provided to you free of cost. Do you understand these rights?.  That's not the real world.

Police read Miranda Warnings. Miranda Warnings are required to be read any time police conduct a “custodial interrogation.”  They are not required to be read at every arrest.  If police are asking you questions, politely ask the following question to the arresting officer: “Am I being arrested or under investigation?”  If the answer is “Yes,” reply, “Thank you, officer, I will not respond to any questions without speaking to my attorney.”


Anything short of custodial interrogation does not require Miranda Rights to be read.  This means that talking to a police officer on the street (and you're not under arrest) does not require you're rights to be read to you.  Just remember that if you start talking without them asking you any questions, you are not in a “custodial interrogation,” and they do not need to read you your rights.  However, statements made to the police could still be used against you.

Remember, if you are in custody and being interrogated (questioned) by police, then you are in “custodial interrogation,” and police must be read you to your Miranda Rights.  Also, may police agencies have a “Miranda Rights and Waiver Form” that lists the Miranda Rights and a Waiver of those Rights. This form is utilized because it is important to understand your legal rights in case you are arrested.  If you are arrested, you do not need to say anything until you have a lawyer present, other than providing the police with your name and perhaps a driver's license.

What Happens at Police Headquarters?

When you are arrested, you are usually taken either to a police station for booking and holding, or taken directly to jail, depending on the local resources available to police.  “Booking” is the name of the process where they record your personal information, what charges you were arrested for, when you were arrested, who arrested you, and check you into the holding cell or jail.  Sometimes, during booking, other searches will be performed, including taking everything from your pockets and any bags you may be holding.  They make an inventory of these items so that they are not responsible for its loss or damage when it is returned.  If further evidence of a crime is discovered, it can be seized at this time.


The process after booking can be slow, depending on what resources are available.  You may be let go almost immediately or held up to twenty-four hours until the prosecutor's office determines if they are moving for Pre-Trial Detention.

If you have been arrested in Passaic, Bergen, Morris, Hudson, or Essex County, and need an experienced lawyer, call the Law Offices of David L. Pine.  Mr. Pine represents criminal defendants in Northern Jersey and throughout the State of New Jersey.  He can meet with clients in emergencies.  To schedule a free consultation, call (973) 427-7444 NOW!

Contact Us Today!

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David L. Pine, Esq.
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