In Maricopa County, several law enforcement agencies have the power to arrest you. Each city has its own police force (e.g. Phoenix, Surprise, Mesa, Peoria, etc.). The Department of Public Safety ("DPS") handles primarily vehicular enforcement on the highways. The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office ("MCSO") is responsible for county-wide law enforcement duties. Each law enforcement agency has its own procedures for arrest depending upon the situation and depending upon the crime. Each city has its own detention room. However, many cities, including Phoenix, do not use their detention cells for long term incarceration. Instead, a person staying for more than the booking process is typically transferred to a county facility (commonly the Fourth Avenue Jail in downtown Phoenix). That person will stay there unless bond can be obtained (bond is not always available). Transfer to one of the other county jails -- Durango, Towers, Lower Buckeye Jail, Madison, as examples -- may also occur while awaiting trial.
I hope you are never arrested, but if it should happen, you must understand some basic principles. From the perspective of the person who has been arrested, what happens prior to booking is highly critical. This article will focus on the important period of time immediately after arrest. Note that although each law enforcement agency may have their own procedures, each one is bound to U.S. and Arizona Constitutional and Statutory Law.
Getting Arrested in Arizona: What Next?You’re placed under arrest. The officer places you in cuffs. You’re read your rights. What do you do? The purpose of this article is not to advise you how to get away with a crime, but rather to help you focus on intelligent actions that can be taken when placed under arrest. Here is what you should and should not do when the arm of the law arrests you.
Miranda Rights: Not a FormalityWe’ve all heard these rights before. You might not know that they stem from a U.S. Supreme Court case involving a Phoenix man.
You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to have an attorney present before any questioning. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to represent you before any questioning. Do you understand these rights?Unfortunately, this important statement of rights has become so ingrained in our vernacular that it is simply used as a moment in time in which the defendant composes what he is to say next. It is merely white noise in the background.
As a former prosecutor, and now a defense attorney for the past 10 years, it amazes me how many people hang themselves with their own words. Regardless of your guilt or innocence, a suspect’s words very often can and do come to haunt them. A statement, which in the suspect’s mind, is a defense of his innocence, might actually incriminate him from the perspective of the officer, and subsequently, a prosecutor. Investigating a crime, any crime, can be a very complicated process for the police. A suspect’s statements are like a road map to the officer’s goal, that is, to arrest someone for the crime they are investigating. Unfortunately, that road map might lead, quite unintentionally, to the suspect.
Furthermore, keep in mind that once you are placed under arrest, the officer has presumably done some investigation which lead him to believe that he had probable cause to believe that YOU committed a crime. The officer has already made his decision. Your words after that can only hurt you. The thought that you can change the officer’s mind with your words of wisdom is a foolish one, and one that has no connection with the real world.
Next Page >> Dos and Don'ts If You Are Arrested