A common question I get from clients is whether they will have to go to jail if they are arrested by the police. Yesterday, I received a telephone call from a prospective client who was caught shoplifting at a local Target. When he was approached by store security, he ran out of the store and jumped into his vehicle and left the store. He noticed the security guards chase him to his car and realized that they probably had his license plate number. The next day he spoke to a police officer who told him that they they have him on video committing the crime and leaving the store and would be charging him with a Retail Theft. He wanted to know whether he would go to jail if he turned himself in as the police had asked him to. This is a common question I get from people calling me and asking for my advice. Many people do not realize what happens when they are arrested and what their rights are when they are in the custody of the police and are not free to leave.
How Long Can the Police Hold Me Before Charging Me or Releasing Me?
As a general rule, the police can hold you in the police station for up to 48 hours before releasing you or charging you with a crime. This is based on a 1991 US Supreme Court case that established this general rule. However, in that same case, the Supreme Court stated that suspects can be held at the police station for a longer period of time if there is “extraordinary circumstances.” It is the policy of the Chicago Police to hold suspects for up to 48 hours before releasing them or charging them with a crime. Joliet police also have a similar 48-hour strict deadline. Police in Elgin and Waukegan consider 72-hours to be their deadline. What constitutes “extraordinary circumstances” is the subject of debate among legal circles and is unsettled by the courts. However, the Supreme Court has held that holding a suspect in custody for the purpose of gathering additional evidence is unconstitutional. Different police agencies and police departments have their own policies. For instance, police in Waukegan will hold a suspect for up to 72 hours but only after they receive approval from the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Are You Being Charged With a Felony or a Misdemeanor?
Perhaps the most critical factor that determines whether you will go to jail or not is whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. If you are charged with a misdemeanor, you will most likely be allowed to post Bond at the police station and be released with your next court date. In most counties, you will have to appear before a judge for a Bond Hearing if you are charged with a Domestic Battery. That’s because in most Domestic Battery cases the Court will want to consider whether additional restrictions have to be applied to you if you are charged with a Domestic Battery. In many Domestic Battery cases, the Court will enter an Order of Protection or Special Condition of Bond prohibiting you from returning to your home or having any contact with the victim. In all Domestic Battery cases in Illinois, you will be prohibited from having any contact with the victim for at least 72-hours after you are released from jail. For the overwhelming majority of misdemeanors, Bond will be set at the police station and you will be released at the police station and not have to appear before a judge before being released by the police.
If you are charged with a felony, you must be brought before a judge for a Bond Hearing as soon as possible after your arrest. Once you are processed by the police after an arrest, you must be brought before a judge as soon as possible. Processed means that your picture will be taken, your fingerprints taken, and a computer search will be conducted to verify your identity, gather your criminal history, and find out if there are any outstanding warrants for your arrest. Once all of that information is gathered, you will be brought to Bond Court and appear before a Judge. The first thing that happens in Bond Court is that the judge will conduct a Gerstein Hearing if you were arrested without a warrant. A Gerstein Hearing is a short hearing for the judge to determine whether the police have probable cause to hold you in custody without a warrant. After the judge determines that the police had probable cause to hold you and place you under arrest, the judge will determine whether you need to post a Bond before being released. A lawyer will represent you at the Bond Hearing. The lawyer could be a lawyer that you hired or a Public Defender. If a Bond is set, you can post the Bond at Bond Court and you will be released with your next court date. If you do not post Bond at the Bond Court, the local police that arrested you will turn you over to the County Sheriff where you will be taken to the County Jail and held until Bond is posted or your case is finished.
If you are arrested on a weekend or on a court holiday, you will be taken to Weekend or Holiday Bond Court. All courthouses in all Counties have at least one courtroom open on weekends and court holidays for Bond Hearings. In DuPage County and Kane County, you will appear before a Judge for a Bond Hearing via a video feed. If you appear in Weekend or Holiday Bond Court, you will be given a regular court date as soon as possible. For instance, if you in Cook County, Weekend and Holiday Bond Court for all Cook County criminal cases will be at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse at 26th and California. Your first court date will be on Tuesday at the Courthouse where your case will be at. For instance, if you have a case in Rolling Meadows, and you appear in Bond Court at 26th and California on a weekend, your next court date will be on Tuesday in Rolling Meadows.
James Dimeas is a nationally-recognized, award-winning, criminal defense lawyer, with over-27 years of experience handling criminal cases in Chicago, Cook County, DuPage County, Kane County, and Lake County. Attorney and Practice Magazine gave James Dimeas its “Top 10 Criminal Defense Attorney Award for Illinois.” The National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys gave James Dimeas its “Top 10 Attorney Award for the State of Illinois.” James Dimeas was named a “Best DUI Attorney.” Expertise named James Dimeas a “Best Criminal Defense Lawyer in Chicago.” The National Trial Lawyers named James Dimeas a “Top 100 Criminal Defense Trial Lawyer.” The American Society of Legal Advocates named James Dimeas a “Top 100 Criminal Defense Lawyer in the State of Illinois For the Years 2018 and 2019.” The American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys named James Dimeas a “10 Best Attorney for Client Satisfaction.” James Dimeas is rated “Superb” by AVVO, the highest rating possible for any criminal defense attorney in the United States.
If you have been arrested and are facing criminal charges, you can contact James Dimeas anytime for a free and confidential consultation. You can talk to James Dimeas personally by calling him at 847-807-7405.
City Police Review Time in Custody, by Michael Higgins, The Chicago Tribune, April 24, 2003.
My Rights When I’m Under Arrest or In Custody, Illinois Legal Aid Online.
What Happens When You Are Arrested, by James G. Dimeas, Chicago Criminal Lawyer Blog, March 18, 2019.
What’s the Difference Between a Misdemeanor, Felony and Municipal Violation, by James G. Dimeas, Chicago Criminal Lawyer Blog, August 8, 2017.