If you have been arrested, the experience can be terrifying. People do not expect to start the day at home and end the day in jail. There are things that you need to do if you find yourself in this position. From finding the right defense lawyer to getting yourself out of jail as soon as you can, here are some things you need to do if you have been arrested.
- Be careful when you see the judge. One of the first things that happens after you have been arrested and booked into the jail is that you will go before a judge. They will look at the evidence from the police report and decide what kind of bond they will set. This is not the time to talk about the details of your case. Not only does this judge not care about your side of the story but you can damage your case moving forward. The only thing they need to hear is that you are neither a flight risk nor a danger to the community.
- Bail yourself out of jail if you can. If the judge has set a bond, you need to do whatever you can to get that money and get out of jail. The laws that govern bail vary from state to state so you will have to talk to a bonding agency in the county you are in or at least the state. Keep in mind that at least 66% of the people in jails in the United States are awaiting trial and have not been convicted. That does not mean the guards treat people as if they are innocent, they do not. You cannot do much for your case from behind bars and you will do your mental state a world of good by getting out of there as soon as you can.
- Listen to the offer your public defender gives you. Even if your plan is to hire a private defense lawyer, it is worth it to hear what the public defender has to say. They may have received an offer from the prosecuting attorney and you can learn a lot about what they are going to want to do from that offer. There are cases where that offer is something you will want to consider. If you do not have a criminal record, it may even be worth it to take it. More than 96% of all criminal cases are decided via a plea.
- Find the best defense lawyer you can. If the plea is not something you would consider, you will need to find a good defense lawyer. Here are some steps you can take to do that:
- Talk to people you know. Not everyone wants the world to know that they have been arrested so you may not know if someone you know has been arrested and hired an expert in criminal law. Find out if you know anyone who has been in this situation and put together a list of people to talk to.
- Take advantage of free first consultations. It is important to take advantage of the policy that criminal law firms have to give prospective clients a free first consultation. This is the way you can find the best defense attorney for you and your situation. this is also the way lawyer do business so you should take your time with this part of the process.
- Talk to at least three law firms. It can be tempting to hire the first defense lawyer that you meet with and like. This would be a mistake because you will not get a good sense of what your options are. Talk to at least three law firms before you decide to hire anyone.
Do not give up. When you have been arrested for the first time it can feel like the end of the world. It is scary, embarrassing, and very stressful. No matter what happens with your case and what your defense lawyer can do for you, you will get through this. It is not the end of your life or the world and you will find a way to get through this experience.