The arrest of a family member is upsetting. Trying to figure out what you should do and where to start is overwhelming. Here are the steps you can take to help your relative through the situation.
If you are with your family member at the time of the arrest, make sure you do not get arrested, too. Remain calm, do not try to interfere, and be polite when asking the police office where your loved one is being taken to. Try to get as much information as you can, such as the officer’s name, jurisdiction, and the charges your relative is being arrested for.
If your relative is to be held in a county jail, you can remind him or her that they have the right to have a criminal defense lawyer present when they are questioned by law enforcement officials.
Finding a Criminal Defense Attorney
Next, you’ll need to decide whether or not to call an attorney. If the arrest happens during business hours, contact a criminal defense attorney who will be able to advise on the way forward.
The Court Appearance
Your family member will be afforded a hearing in front of a judge. At the hearing, which is known as an initial appearance, your relative will be told what his or her charges are, and the rights he or she has. The judge will determine whether your family member should be put in jail or released before the trial, and if they are to be released, what conditions will be put in place.
Be sure to give yourself enough time before the hearing to get to the courthouse. Beforehand, visit the pretrial services office and check-in just in case they have any questions about your relative that could help with his or her release. Next, find the courtroom where the hearing will take place so that you are there in time for the start of the hearing.
Gathering the Bond
Once you know which jail your relative is being held in, you should find out how much bond is required for his or her offense – if bond is applicable – and get the money in order if you are able to do so. Sometimes, bond can be set immediately, and other times, you may have to wait until the next day or the end of the day for bond to be set.
Keep in mind that if you or your relative post bond, it should be returned once the case is completed and can be used for any fines that are imposed. However, if you decide to hire a bail bondsman, the amount you have to spend will be less, but you will not get that money back at the end of the case, and it cannot be used toward any fines.
A criminal defense lawyer may be able to get the bond reduced, so be sure to seek assistance before posting it. The attorney can also help make arrangements to assign the bond, or offer alternative advice.
If the bond is affordable to you, and you have the money to post it, make sure that your family member understands how much you have spent and that you will want him or her to pay you back. Get a receipt for the bond and keep it safe.
After the Hearing
After your loved one’s hearing, you will hopefully get to take him or her home. If not, find out where your relative is being held, and what the visiting hours are. Find out how to put money on an account so that he or she can buy supplies to make life in jail a little easier.
What to Do if Your Relative Remains in Jail Until the Trial
Try to visit your relative as often as you are allowed to. You are their connection to the outside world, so keep them connected with your visits. You should also try to encourage other family members and friends to visit at different times to try and keep your loved one’s morale up.
It’s a good idea to learn the jail’s rules and regulations, like finding out if you can send money or gifts, when visiting hours are, and that your family member knows to add you and any other visitors to their authorized visitors list.
Work with a Criminal Defense Lawyers
The next step is to start working with an experienced criminal defense lawyer, if you haven’t already, to gather all the facts of the case and prepare to go to trial.
If your family member has been arrested and needs a criminal defense attorney, contact the attorneys of Joffe Law, P.A. to schedule a free consultation. Our attorneys and support staff work closely with clients to gather the pertinent facts, understand their concerns, keep them informed as to the status of their cases, and identify potential witnesses. Contact us today to protect your rights and reputation.