Is Being Arrested the Same As Being Charged With a Crime?

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Feb 07


Is Being Arrested the Same As Being Charged With a Crime?

by Anonymous

If you or someone you know has been arrested, you might be confused about what that means. Have they been charged with a crime? Is an arrest the same thing as being charged with a crime? 

No, being charged is not the same as being arrested. Being arrested means that the police believe that you likely committed a crime and therefore detain you, so they can determine whether to proceed with an investigation and file charges.

In addition, a person can face criminal charges without being arrested. Although criminal charges usually follow after an arrest, being charged is not the same as being arrested.

The difference between them is very important. One cannot be convicted of a crime if there has been no arrest. This is because one cannot lawfully get punished for breaking the law unless one is first charged with doing so. 

When someone is charged but not yet arrested, it simply means that the authorities have decided to proceed with a case against that person, but they do not yet have the grounds to detain him or her.

When someone is arrested, it does not mean that charges will automatically follow. However, it is fairly likely in a felony crime. Prosecutors will typically bring criminal charges after an arrest for a felony crime because of the severity of these crimes. To obtain a conviction, the prosecution must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. 

For misdemeanors, whether charges follow an arrest is more situational. It depends on factors such as how quickly the person was taken into custody after the crime and what resources were expended in capturing and detaining them.

When police suspect someone of having committed a crime but do not have enough evidence to make out the probable cause for an arrest, they might simply go ahead and issue a summons or citation. This allows the suspect to appear in court to answer charges at a later date without having been arrested first.

Summonses and citations are typically associated with very minor crimes, but they can also be used for more serious offenses.

If the suspect fails to appear in court on the given date, police might then go out into the field looking for that person or arrest him or her under another charge.

What Can a Seattle Criminal Defense Lawyer Do For You?

There are many reasons why talking to a lawyer after being arrested can help your case. First and foremost, if you talk to a criminal defense attorney early on in your case, they can begin building a defense for you right away. Whether it's through reviewing the evidence against you and interviewing potential witnesses or negotiating with prosecutors about possible plea deals, your criminal defense attorney will make sure that your interests are represented throughout the entirety of your case.

When hiring a Seattle criminal defense lawyer, it is best to look for someone who has experience with the types of charges that you are facing. For example, if you are involved in drug possession charges, it would be helpful for the lawyer to have knowledge of the state laws pertaining to this type of crime along with how local judges rule on these cases. Since each city has its own courts and specific rules, a Seattle criminal defense attorney is better able at helping people in Seattle than one outside the area may be.

The first thing that most lawyers will do when hired is sit down and go over all the details of your case. If you did not talk to the police and give them a statement, it is possible that they based their charges on someone else's statements. Although we would all like to believe that the police only arrest the guilty party, recent studies have shown how this is not always true. In addition to speaking with witnesses or pursuing pretrial motions, your criminal defense attorney will also help guide you through the court process so that you know what to expect when going to trial.

Although hiring a Seattle criminal defense lawyer may seem like an unnecessary expense at first, it can save you money in the long run by keeping you out of jail and protecting your rights throughout trial and sentencing processes. 

Contact Our Seattle Criminal Defense Lawyers

If you have been charged with any criminal offense in the city of Seattle, give us a call. The Seattle criminal defense attorneys at Lewis & Laws have defended thousands of individuals who have been charged with misdemeanors, gross misdemeanors, felonies, and federal crimes. We are also Seattle DUI lawyers. Contact us today at 206.209.0608 or fill out our online contact form.  

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