What will happen to me when I am arrested? What should I do?

Immediately after you are arrested, you will be taken for booking. The booking process takes place either at a police station or a central processing unit (a police facility set up for the booking process). The police will require identification information, they will fingerprint and photograph you and will put you before a judicial officer who will decide whether you will be released. In some jurisdictions, you may now be required to give a DNA sample via buccal (cells from inside of your cheek) swab.

In Maryland, you will not have an attorney through this process unless you hire one. In the District of Columbia and in Federal Court, you may retain an attorney or an attorney will be appointed for you prior to your initial appearance before a judicial officer. It is very important to hire an attorney as soon as possible to represent you at this appearance. A properly prepared attorney can often reduce the bail bond or limit the conditions of release. You may save a substantial amount of money through reduced bond and minimize the often very restrictive conditions of release which may be imposed upon you.