IF YOU ARE ARRESTED:
The first thing most people do when arrested is PANIC! They will try to get out of jail as quickly as possible by buying a bail bond or trying to confess and hope they will then be set free. This is the wrong thing to do. Instead follow these steps:
1. KEEP SILENT
Don't talk to anyone about the alleged crime until you have received instructions from your attorney. Many people do not realize that some police vehicles are equipped with recording devices and that conversations you may have with other occupants of the vehicle can be recorded and used against you. Some phones may also be monitored and even fellow arrestees at the jail can testify against you if you tell them about your case.
2. GET AN ATTORNEY
You have a right to have an attorney. If you cannot afford one, the court will appoint a public defender for you. If it is later determined that you could afford an attorney, the court may order you to pay the cost of the public defender.
3. DO NOT POST A HIGH BAIL
Most people want to get out of jail as fast as possible and believe the best way to do so is to post bail. While this may get the person out of jail quickly, it could cause more problems in the long run by causing an undue financial burden. Once you have been arraigned, it may be possible to reduce your bail or even have you released on your own recognizance. It is also common for charges to be reduced or dropped early in the proceedings resulting in a reduction or elimination of bail.
4. BE HONEST WITH YOUR ATTORNEY
The conversations you have with your attorney are protected by law. Your attorney will act on your words to prepare an appropriate defense. As an example, if you tell your attorney that you have an alibi in that you were with John and Fred, your attorney will probably subpoena John and Fred to testify. If John and Fred then deny your alibi, it can damage your credibility with a jury and be used against you. Tell your attorney what happened. Be sure to include dates, times, people's full names and addresses and exactly what happened. Give any potential witnesses to the alleged crime and any people who may serve as character witnesses for you or against alleged victims.
5. DO NOT INVESTIGATE THE ALLEGED CRIME
If you investigate the alleged crime yourself, it could interfere with your attorney's preparation for the case, the alleged victim could accuse you of harassment, the police could accuse you of trying to interfere with their investigation or any number of other bad things could result. Your attorney will generally coordinate any investigation needed including:
Identification of facts helpful to the defense
Interviews with police
Interviews with witnesses
Requests for discovery
Motions for discovery
Subpoenas for records and witnesses
Coordination of private drug, alcohol, lie detector, or other testing
Taking photographs and/or videos
Making sketches or diagrams
Locating other wrongfully accused people
Searching public records
Interviews with fire and/or rescue personnel
Interviews with alleged victims
Background investigations of involved parties
Motions to discover confidential informants
Collect other evidence as appropriate
6. DON'T DISAPPEAR
Make sure you know when your court dates are and that you don't miss any required appearances. Also, if you are out on bail, make sure to check in with your bail bondsman as required. If you miss an appearance or your bail is recalled, you may have to spend more time in jail.
Copyright © 2000, Law Offices of George A. Boyle