What to Do if Your Spouse Was Arrested in Bucks County, Pennsylvania
When a person is arrested and held in police custody, they often rely on friends and family on the outside to help them. In many cases, an arrested individual will depend on their spouse. The spouse outside of police custody is in a better position to begin meeting with attorneys and figuring out how to pay for bail, among other things. If your spouse was arrested, your next steps could be crucial to the success of their case. Read on to learn more about what to do if your spouse was arrested in Bucks County from the attorneys and staff at Young, Marr & Associates.
Hiring an Attorney After Your Spouse is Arrested in Bucks County
As soon as your spouse is arrested, you should begin looking for a qualified attorney. While there is no deadline for hiring an attorney, the sooner you do it, the better. Hiring a lawyer, later on, means the lawyer will have to play catch-up and get acquainted with your case before making any significant decisions.
When your spouse is arrested, they will likely be questioned by the police about their alleged crimes. When the police question a person while that person is in police custody, their Miranda rights kick in. These rights include the right to remain silent and the right to have an attorney present during questioning. Having a lawyer to be with your spouse during questioning will help protect your spouse’s rights and possibly prevent them from unnecessarily incriminating themselves.
It is crucial that you hire an attorney who has the skills and knowledge to represent your spouse. Attorneys tend to practice in different fields of law, and not every attorney will have the ability to take on a criminal case. Our Bucks County criminal defense attorneys are prepared to handle your spouse’s criminal case and provide the best defense possible.
Getting Your Spouse Out on Bail After an Arrest in Bucks County
Not long after your spouse is arrested, they will have a bail hearing. This stage of the criminal justice process is important because it may determine whether your spouse can come home. In most cases, bail is granted. However, under specific circumstances, the court may deny a person’s right to bail. These circumstances include very serious crimes, like murder, or defendants who are flight risks.
Once bail has been set, you can start to figure out how you will pay. Depending on the nature of your spouse’s charges, bail could be very high or it could be more manageable. In some cases, people can pay their bail directly out of pocket. In many other cases, people need help from bail bondsmen. The responsibility of paying bail may fall on your shoulders because your spouse may have a hard time arranging payment with a bail bondsman from a jail cell.
An even better scenario is one in which your spouse is released on their own recognizance. Being released this way means your spouse is not required to pay any bail at all. Instead, the court trusts your spouse to show up to all their court hearings without the incentive of bail. This kind of bail is generally reserved for defendants with more minor charges and who are not flight risks. If we can demonstrate your spouse has strong ties to their family and community that would prevent them from skipping bail, we might be able to get them released more easily.
Pre-Trial Preparations After Your Spouse is Arrested in Bucks County
After your spouse has hopefully been released on bail, your next step will be to prepare for the pre-trial stages of the criminal justice process. Trials do not happen right away. There are multiple stages and hearings to get through first. These steps may differ depending on how your spouse is charged.
In all criminal cases, a defendant must be arraigned. The arraignment is when a defendant is formally informed of the criminal charges against them and enters a plea. Defendants can plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest. Once the arraignment is complete, a trial may be scheduled.
If your spouse is charged with a felony, there is an additional step before the formal arraignment known as a preliminary hearing. At the preliminary hearing, the court will make a final determination on the probable cause against your spouse. The prosecutor on the case must demonstrate that there is sufficient probable cause to hold your spouse over for trial. We can argue against this probable cause and hopefully have charges reduced or dismissed.
Plea bargaining can also take place around this time. This step is less formal and mostly takes place between the defense and the prosecution. A plea bargain is where the defendant agrees to plead guilty and waive their right to a trial, and the prosecutor agrees to reduce the charges or recommend a more lenient sentence. This process can go on for as long as the parties want to negotiate. However, plea bargains are not required, and the prosecutor may not decide to offer one.
Avoid Incriminating Your Spouse in Bucks County
After your spouse has been arrested and gone through the pre-trial phases, you will be getting closer to the trial date. Depending on the nature of your spouse’s alleged crimes, the prosecutor could try to get you to testify against your spouse. However, as a married couple, you and your spouse have privileges and immunities that protect you in criminal proceedings.
Any confidential communications between spouses are protected. You do not have to testify about anything said in private between you and your spouse. Both spouses hold this privilege, so either spouse may invoke it at trial. However, this privilege only covers communications made during a valid marriage. Anything said before you married your spouse or after a divorce may not be protected.
Another marital or spousal privilege allows a spouse to refuse to testify against the other spouse in court. This privilege does not protect the testimony’s content but instead applies to the testifying spouse specifically. Only the testifying spouse holds the privilege, so they may invoke or waive it as they see fit.
Contact Our Criminal Defense Attorneys for a Consultation
If your spouse had been arrested, or you believe they will soon be arrested, reach out to our Bensalem criminal defense attorneys immediately. Call Young, Marr & Associates at (215) 372-8667 to schedule a free consultation.