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Mark Olberding April 29, 2009

If you have been arrested, the Constitution of the United States protects your rights to legal counsel, and to remaining silent. To invoke your rights, tell Law Enforcement personnel you do not want to answer any questions without your attorney present and are invoking your right to remain silent. 

After you invoke your right to remain silent, do not, no matter what, talk about your case or what has happened.  Prisons are full of people who attempted to talk themselves out of being arrested!  Do not make any decisions in your case until you have talked with a lawyer.  By talking and consenting you provide law enforcement with the evidence to potentially obtain a conviction. While all is not lost by cooperating, your best bet is to politely exercise your rights.

It is standard Law Enforcement procedure when you are being questioned for them to act as if they know more than they do; that all you are doing is confirming what they already know.  Most of the time this is false, if they knew everything they would not be asking.  Law Enforcement also will ask you a question and when you answer, they respond with “Well, so and so, told us something different” or just a flat out “we think your lying, stop lying to us and we can help you.”  Again, most of the time Law Enforcement is making this up.  Your best course of action is always to refuse to answer questions aside from those about who you are and demand an attorney.  Always be polite; but remember, Law Enforcement does not have the final decision on whether to charge you or even what charge; the county attorney does.

Within a reasonable time after your arrest, or booking, you have the right to make a local phone call: to a lawyer, bail bondsman, a relative or any other person.

An individual that has been arrested for a criminal offense must be brought before a judge without “unreasonable delay.” “Unreasonable delay” according to Iowa law is 24 hours. This appearance before the Judge is aptly named an “Initial Appearance.”

At the Initial Appearance the Judge schedules the next court date and makes a determination as to the conditions that should be imposed for the arrested individual’s release pending further court hearings. The Judge may choose any number of options including:

  • Release on recognizance, also known as an “R.O.R.” meaning no bail or bond is required

  • Pretrial release with supervision by the Department of Corrections

  • Cash and/or surety bond (bail) in an amount set by the Judge.

Posting Bond

If the arrested individual does not wish to sit in jail before seeing the Judge or the Judge imposes a bond at the Initial Appearance, the person may post bail. Bail may be posted in its entire amount with the Clerk of Court or through a bondsman. If the full amount is put up to the Clerk of Court, the person who posted the bond will have it returned when the case is completed, so long as the defendant appears at all court dates. If a bondsman is used, most bondsmen require 10% of the bond which they keep as their fee for posting the remaining amount with the Court.  They may also require other security such as title to a car or house.

Failure to Appear In Court

Failure to appear in a timely and appropriate manner at each court date may result in a forfeiture of the posted bond and new charges for failure to appear.  Being charged with a new offense while out on bail, pretrial supervision or R.O.R. will result in revocation the release conditions and a new, usually higher bond will have to be posted.