Can You Be Arrested Without Evidence?

handcuffs-1078871_640The American criminal justice system can be complex and difficult to understand for anybody who has not studied it. Though our sense of fairness may tell us that we cannot be arrested for a crime unless there is proof that we actually committed it, that is not the way that things work. The procedures that the police are required to follow in order to place you under arrest only require that you are suspected of having committed a crime. Evidence comes later.  If you have been arrested for a crime, you need experienced and knowledgeable legal help as quickly as possible. Richard M. Josselson is a compassionate and dedicated criminal defense attorney who has worked for four decades to protect the rights of those who have been charged with crimes in South Jersey. Contact our law office today to make sure that you have a strong and competent advocate working on your side.

Many people misunderstand what the police need in order to place them under arrest. They watch television crime shows and that makes them think that the police need proof that you have committed a crime in order to place them under arrest. In truth, what the police need is known as “probable cause”, and this is a term that can be loosely interpreted.  An arrest can be made with a warrant from a judge, who will decide whether probable cause exists for the arresting officer to pursue a suspect, or without a warrant if the police indicate that they have probable cause. In the latter case, the person who has been arrested needs to be brought before a judge within 48 hours in order for the police to justify the arrest.  If the judge agrees, then the person can continue to be held.

Evidence of guilt is only formally presented at the time of a trial, though there are a number of steps between an arrest and the trial that provide an experienced criminal defense attorney with the opportunity to get the charges against you dropped. Once a person is arrested the prosecutor’s office needs to make a case before the grand jury as to whether there is good enough reason for the accused person to be indicted and held for trial. Again, this part of the process does not require that firm evidence that proves a case beyond a reasonable doubt be presented – it is only enough for the process to continue but it does provide a knowledgeable attorney with a chance to convince both the prosecution and a grand jury that there is not good enough reason to continue.

It is an unfortunate fact of life that a person can be arrested without evidence. If that happens to you, the results can be upsetting, and can include having to miss work or appointments, having their vehicle seized, or other inconveniences and disturbances. The best way to minimize the impact on your life and to protect yourself from further problems is to have a strong legal advocate working on your behalf to get the charges against you dropped. Call the Law Office of Richard M. Josselson today to learn more about how we can help.

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