Frequently Asked Questions

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I was arrested, what happens next?


Within 24 hours of your arrest, you will appear before a judge for First Appearance who will determine if you were lawfully arrested, known as a finding of “probable cause.” Typically, the judge will find probable cause and then set a bond in your case.

In the days (sometimes weeks) after your arrest, the State Attorney’s Office will decide whether to file charges or not. If charges are filed, you will receive a notice in the mail of your first court date, which is called Arraignment. At Arraignment, the judge will inform you of your charges, and you can either plea “not guilty” and have your case set for a future court date, or you can enter a plea of “guilty” or “no contest” to resolve your case and accept a plea deal. Most people enter a plea of “Not Guilty” so they can have their lawyer investigate their case and advise them.

It is never too early after an arrest to retain a lawyer – the sooner the better! At the latest, you should be prepared to hire a competent, experienced lawyer to represent you soon after your Arraignment.

Your lawyer will review the State’s evidence against you, investigate and develop your defenses, and can question the State’s witnesses by taking their deposition. Your lawyer will look for any defensive motions that could result in your case being dismissed before trial. Ultimately, the decision to take a plea or go to trial is yours alone; however, your lawyer is trained in the rules of evidence and criminal procedure, and she will have a good picture of how your trial might turn out. Therefore, it is in your best interest to thoroughly consult with your lawyer and listen to their advice before making a final decision on how to resolve your case.

If you or a loved one were arrested or charged with a crime, contact Burkhardt Legal today at to schedule a consultation.  At Burkhardt Legal, we have years of experience defending clients in criminal cases, and our record of successes at trial show that we will aggressively fight your case and work to obtain the best possible outcome in your legal matter.