What To Do If Your Loved One is in Jail
It is always shocking to find out a friend or a loved one has been arrested and is in the custody of the police. However, your loved one is counting on you for help. If you discover that someone you love is in jail, it is vital to follow certain steps to ensure their legal rights are fully protected.
1. Get information. The first thing to do is ask your loved one where they are being held and the name of the police agency. If they don't know, then ask a police officer. Find out what the charges are, but do not allow your friend to explain the situation. The phone conversation may be recorded for later use and held against your loved one.
2. Tell your loved one to remain silent. Inform your loved one to keep silent—often referred to as “pleading the fifth”—and not make any statements or take any tests without the presence of a qualified attorney. In addition, tell the police officer or detective not to question your loved one until an attorney arrives. Write down the time you made this request.
3. Document everything that happens. Write down all the important information you gather from the time you are informed of the arrest and beyond. This will not only help you keep things straight during this stressful, and often overwhelming, time, it can also help your criminal defense attorney protect and maximize your legal rights.
4. Find a qualified criminal defense attorney. While the first thing you may be inclined to do is get your loved one out of jail, it is important to find a criminal defense attorney who can help protect your loved one's legal interests and assist in the release process. Give the lawyer as much information as you can about the arrest and the charges made. Ask the lawyer to immediately call the police agency and prohibit any officers from questioning your loved one. Contact us to speak with an experienced and qualified criminal defense attorney.
5. Pay the jail bond. In most cases, a judge sets a bond amount shortly after the arrest. A bond is a monetary guarantee that your loved one will appear in all subsequent court proceedings in exchange for his release from initial holding. The amount is usually contingent on the type of charges brought against your loved one and personal circumstances including previous convictions, employment, and community ties. If the bond amount is set, you may go about posting the money three different ways.
- Present the cash or check in the full amount to the holding agency, which will be returned to you—so long as your loved one follows all court instructions—when the charges are resolved in court.
- Get the money from a bonds agency that will charge a percentage of the bond amount, which is non-refundable.
- Request a pretrial release, which requires a much smaller payment amount than a bond. Pretrial release reviews are most commonly reserved only for low risk individuals who are not accused of serious crimes. It is important to seek the early advise of a qualified attorney to ensure your legal interests are protected.
6. Support your loved one. When your loved one is released from jail, continue to show your support. Get into contact with a qualified attorney and learn what the legal ramifications of the charges are, what rights your loved one is guaranteed, and what future steps need to be taken. If your loved one is in jail, contact us to learn more about their legal rights and options.
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