Arrested by the Philadelphia Police? Here’s What to Know

by | Oct 24, 2022

Legal information is available online and accessible to the public on what to know about getting arrested by the Philadelphia police. You can learn about the process and potential outcomes and read statutes. However, this information cannot substitute individualized legal advice from a Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer since the law applies differently to every case.

All cases also have different players involved. For example, a different judge and a different prosecutor will likely have their hands in your case. These players’ styles, such as their temperament and how they apply the law, make a difference in how your lawyer should approach your case.

The most important thing to remember is that there may be an opportunity to get you out of your charges, even during the pretrial stage. Some of these options are only available at specific points in your defense, making it critical to get legal advice as soon as you possibly can.

In This Article

The Philadelphia criminal defense lawyers on the Shuttleworth Law legal team address why the police arrested you, how you should handle dealing with them, and what you can expect from the local court system. We wrote this post for people and family members trying to deal with the aftermath of an arrest.

Why Did the Philadelphia Police Arrest Me?

The Philadelphia Police Department arrested you because they thought they had probable cause to do so. Probable cause is a legal standard for arrests, searches, and seizures. The Commonwealth or police allege that they reasonably believe you committed a crime and should be arrested.

Two situations commonly give rise to arrest by the Philadelphia PD:

  • Situation 1. You were under investigation by the police, and they got a warrant to arrest you
  • Situation 2. Police observed you committing a crime and arrested you immediately or on sight

Let’s be honest: the Philadelphia Police (and Commonwealth Courts) do not always get their arrests, investigations, warrants, and other legal details correct. Sometimes they actually have probable cause and sometimes they don’t. The causation of your arrest is something that your attorney will look into separately so that you can raise civil rights and procedural error issues as part of your legal defense.

How Do I Handle the Philadelphia Police After an Arrest?

You might not hear from the Philadelphia Police again after an arrest unless they believe you committed another crime. However, if the police want to contact you, you should treat them like officers serving the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s best interests, not yours. Anything you say will be used against you as evidence in court, meaning that you should exercise your right to remain silent and refer all questions to your criminal defense lawyer.

Here are a few more tips for dealing with the Philadelphia PD:

  • Do not offer consent to search – – if they have a warrant then so be it
  • Always ask for a lawyer and remain silent
  • Know that the police can lie to you
  • Remain as calm as possible when talking to police
  • Use your local phone call to get help
  • Make a note of any rights violations that occurred

Getting arrested is a frightening experience, making it difficult to remember every little detail about your arrest. However, you or your arrested family member should write as much information about the arrest process as possible. Your criminal defense attorney will use your recollection to build theories and investigate facts that are only available if you remember them.

When Do You Get to See a Magistrate Judge After an Arrest in Philadelphia?

If you were not arrested by a search warrant, you or your family member will see a magistrate judge within 72 hours of your arrest for a preliminary arraignment, which is sometimes tied in with your preliminary hearing if you were just summoned to court. At the preliminary arraignment, you will learn the charges filed against you and their maximum penalties. Your bail will also be set at the preliminary arraignment.  Most preliminary hearings then occur a few weeks after the preliminary arraignment.

Preliminary Arraignment (Within 72 Hours of Arrest)

Your preliminary arraignment is a short formal court hearing held before a magistrate judge. They will not decide your innocence or guilt at this hearing. Instead, the judge will read the charges against you and set bail. Your criminal defense attorney can attend this hearing with you to argue for a good, affordable bail on your behalf.

Preliminary Hearing (Within 30 Days of Arrest)

Prosecutors present their evidence at a preliminary hearing. They are trying to show that they had probable cause for a crime they believe you committed. If the judge does not believe they have probable cause, as argued by your defense lawyer, you should not face charges related to the alleged crime committed.

How a Criminal Defense Lawyer Helps After Getting Arrested by Philadelphia Police

The most compelling reason to hire a Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer is to protect your legal rights. However, this abstract concept is tough to translate into value. Here are a few ways that our legal knowledge, skills, and resources apply in this regard:

  • Reason 1. Experience defending cases across a wide range of charges
  • Reason 2. Ability to weaken the prosecutor’s case
  • Reason 3. Knowledge of the law and criminal procedure
  • Reason 4. Local knowledge of the criminal justice system
  • Reason 5. Avoiding all legal errors and mistakes

These reasons are just a few of many that illustrate how an experienced defense attorney’s power can impact your case’s outcome. You have the right to vet legal representation before deciding, so make sure that it is one you do not make lightly.

Call Shuttleworth Law Now for a Free Case Evaluation

Your criminal charges are defensible after an arrest, regardless of how intimidating the process feels. The Philadelphia criminal defense attorneys at Shuttleworth Law want to offer you a chance to learn more about your charges and how we could help. Call us for a Free Case Evaluation at (215) 774-1371 or send us a message us via our contact form. We can meet via secure video chat if you prefer.

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