In Philadelphia, the police can arrest an individual for a crime such as Possession with Intent to Deliver at the time the alleged crime occurred, or the police can arrest an individual by a warrant at a later time. What happens after the arrest? What are the arrested individuals’ rights? In this article, we will discuss the aftermath of an arrest in Philadelphia.
After an individual is arrested, either at the time of the alleged crime’s occurrence or at a later time, they are taken to the nearest police district for the booking process. The individual’s picture is then taken and their fingerprints are recorded. Thereafter, the individual waits in a holding cell for their arraignment. How long the individual waits depends on the time of day and how many arrests were made that day. Some districts courts hold preliminary arraignments 24/7, such as the Philadelphia district, i.e., Philadelphia Municipal Court. If the individual is arrested in the suburbs, which do not have arraignments 24/7, then the individual would have to stay overnight.
At the preliminary arraignment, the individual appears before a magistrate or a bail commissioner. At the arraignment, the individual receives a copy of the complaint filed against him and a formal reading of the crime is provided. The individual is also advised of his rights to have an attorney present. If he can’t afford one, then a public defender would be provided.
A preliminary hearing will be scheduled at the arraignment. In addition, Bail is also set at the preliminary arraignment. It is important to note that the point of the preliminary arraignment is not for the prosecution to ask the arrested individual questions. It is merely to provide information to the individual about the charge and to set bail. Bail is dependent on various factors such as the crime, the individual’s criminal history, occupation and ties to the community. If there is a high risk that the individual may flee, then the bail is set high.
It is best for the arrested individual to have a lawyer present at the preliminary arraignment. An experienced Philadelphia, PA criminal defense lawyer can advocate for the defendant regarding the bail amount.
At the preliminary hearing, the arrested individual appears before a judge. The prosecution will present evidence to show that the alleged crime was committed. However, the prosecution only has to show that the crime was more likely than not committed by the individual. Thus, the burden at a preliminary hearing is much less than at trial where the prosecution has to prove that the crime was committed beyond a reasonable doubt. If the judge agrees with the prosecution, then the case will be held for court, i.e., proceed to trial.
After the preliminary hearing, a formal arraignment is held. This is when the defendant enters a plea of guilty or not guilty. Thereafter, the process for a criminal trial begins.
Fighting the Charges
Even if a case is held for trial, it does not mean that the individual/defendant has to wait until trial to fight the charges. Defense attorneys may file motions to get the case dismissed. A motion that is often filed in drug related cases is a motion to suppress evidence.
Consider the following: an individual is arrested without a warrant and charged with possession with intent to deliver drugs. On the day of his arrest, he is pulled over by the police after failing to stop at a red light in a Philadelphia intersection. The police officer asks the driver to exit the car and proceeds to search the car and trunk. A duffel bag full of drugs and money is found in the trunk.
The defense lawyer files a motion to suppress the evidence found arguing that the police officer did not have probable cause to search the car. According to the police officer, he searched the car because the driver was not looking at the officer when he was talking to him. However, this fact, in and of itself, did not give the officer probable cause to search the vehicle.
If the police officer saw the driver toss something out the window as he approached, if the car smelled like drugs or if there were drugs in plain sight, then the police officer would have had probable cause to conduct a warrantless search of the vehicle. Because there was no probable cause to search the vehicle, and hence evidence to prove that the driver intended to sell drugs, the case would most likely be dismissed.
Help After a Drug Arrest in Philadelphia
If you were arrested for a drug related crime, it is important to talk to an experienced Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer. Mr. Nenner is a top rated lawyer and offers FREE initial consultations. 215.564.0644