Step-by-step guide: what happens after you’re arrested

A holding cell downtown at the City Police Station. Photo by Jacob Byk.

A holding cell downtown at the City Police Station. Photo by Jacob Byk.

Cassandra Beck

One minute you’re winning beer pong, the next you’re giving your ID and Social Security number to a police officer. Getting arrested is a very real and serious concept, especially for college students.

Stealing a sign because you think it’s funny, not leaving a party when the cops break it up, getting into physical fights — these things are all offenses that can land you in the slammer.

For many, the thought of being arrested is terrifying and unknown, while others are familiar with the humiliation and steps involved in the process. What happens when you get to the police station? How much is bail? When can you leave?

With Halloween right around the corner, make sure you know exactly what you’re up against if you decide to risk it and not follow the rules. Although every arrest depends on the specific circumstances and things involved, here’s a basic, step-by-step guide to what you need to know in case you get arrested in Kent, Ohio.

Step 1. You mess up

You get into a fist fight at the bar. You stumble onto the sidewalk on University Drive with an open container, and you’re not 21. You’re downtown and too drunk to remember how to walk, so you lay down in the middle of the street. Any of these things can result in an arrest, a fine and a court date.

An officer on foot or in a patrol car may stop you and ask to speak with you if you are behaving poorly. If there is probable cause to arrest you, which is a level of proof needed by the officer to make the decision to arrest you, they will. Kent City Police puts all the people they arrest in handcuffs, so if you get arrested off-campus or downtown, you will be restrained with your hands behind your back.

Step 2. Being transported

Once the officer makes the decision to arrest you and puts you in handcuffs, you will then be put into a patrol car and transported to the police station. You’re going to jail, and at this point, there is nothing you can do about it. It is important to try and remain calm. If you’re flipping out, it’s only going to make it harder on everyone involved, and you will be in this position a lot longer.

Staying out of trouble

The Kent Police Department, Kent Fire Department and Kent State University Police Services offer some suggestions to keep you out of court, out of cuffs and out of the hospital.

  • Be respectful of those around you. Families come out to see the costumes and often bring small children. It’s also a great way to avoid getting into a fight with others.
  • Don’t drive downtown because of the increased traffic. If you have to, lock your car and hide any valuables.
  • Don’t carry real weapons or toy props that look too realistic.
  • Wear a costume that doesn’t impair your ability to see.
  • Make sure your cell phone is charged in case you have to make emergency calls.
  • Travel in groups and keep an eye out for each other.
  • Don’t drink in excess. If you become impaired, you’ve made yourself an easy victim for people looking to take advantage of you.
  • If you enter a house party or bar, look for a second way out in case the first entrance you used becomes blocked.
  • Make sure you have a way to get home from downtown or any parties you attend.
  • Remember that all city ordinances still apply, so make sure to follow laws regarding alcohol consumption and open containers.

Step 3. Booking the arrest

The Kent City Police Station has a holding cell, so you’ll have to do some time there if you get arrested. All your property such as jewelry, wallet, hat and cell phone will be taken from you at the time you enter the facility. The property is stored in a bin in the booking room and will be returned once you are released. The booking process consists of a jailer filling out an arrest booking form, taking your mug shot and fingerprints. The booking process usually takes about an hour, but it will take longer if there are numerous prisoners. Kent City Police estimate that if you’re sober and you are the only one being arrested that night, the process should take around an hour. So if you get arrested, pray that no one else did that night. And if they did, you might as well clear your schedule for the rest of the night.

Step 4. Sit Down and shut up

Here’s the most important thing to remember when being arrested — cooperate. You may be angry and upset or think it’s unfair, but the biggest thing to remember is to remain calm. Fighting with the police officer or the people booking the arrest will not get you out any sooner; in fact, cooperating with the booking procedure is a prerequisite of being released. So mind your P’s and Q’s, and shut up. If you’re intoxicated, you’re going to stay until you sober up and start acting like a respectable human being, so continuing the party with other holding mates probably isn’t a good idea. Any damage you do in the jail may result in additional charges, so sit down and behave.

Step 5. The waiting game

Now’s the time to sit back and relax because you’re probably not going anywhere for a while. Don’t think you’ll finish up at the police station and make it back out before last call at the bar. You’ll spend at least an hour or two in jail, but longer if more people are arrested. You’ll have access to a pay phone at some point, and by the time you are in the holding cell and can make phone calls, you will know if you need to post bail or not. Bail is determined on where you are from and where you get arrested — the farther away your home address, the more you will have to pay. If you’re a resident of Kent, you probably won’t have to pay anything, but you’ll have to sign a personal recognizance bond, which is a promise you will return and appear in court; failure to appear will result in a warrant for your arrest. If you live far away, your bond is to ensure you come back for court on your assigned court date. If you do post bail and pay for it, up to 90 percent of your bond can be returned when you go to court. There is no bond for felony charges, and you would have to stay there overnight.


new TWTR.Widget({

version: 2,

type: ‘search’,

search: ‘#KWarrested’,

interval: 6000,

subject: ”,

width: 240,

height: 300,

theme: {

shell: {

background: ‘#b8b8b8’,

color: ‘#66a9c5’


tweets: {

background: ‘#b8b8b8’,

color: ‘#444444’,

links: ‘#1985b5’



features: {

scrollbar: true,

loop: true,

live: true,

hashtags: true,

timestamp: true,

avatars: true,

toptweets: true,

behavior: ‘default’



If you need to post bond, start thinking about how you are going to pay for it or if you’ll need to ask a friend or family member to pay it for you. If you cannot pay it, you will spend the night or weekend in jail.

Toiletries will be provided, and people may drop off clean clothes to you, but there is no visiting facility in the jail. Most times you can stay in your normal clothes unless you’ve managed to throw up all over them or anything of that nature. If you are intoxicated, you will only be released to a responsible, sober person, so having your friends stop by on their walk back from the bar won’t cut it.

Step 6. Here’s your ticket and court date, have a nice night.

Once all your paperwork, information and potential bond have been processed, you will be free to go. You will be given your paperwork, ticket and court date. If you’re under 18 your parents or legal guardians must pick you up.

So this year, as you celebrate Halloween, remember that although your arrest might make a great story down the road, it will definitely ruin your night — and your permanent record.

Cassandra Beck is the safety reporter for the Daily Kent Stater.

Contact Cassandra Beck at [email protected].