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Receiving a call that someone you care about has been arrested can be shocking. Suddenly, in that moment, dozens of questions run through your mind, and all you can think about is what you can possibly do to help. If you’ve never been in this situation before, you might not be sure what steps to take next. You might not know whether your loved one has legal representation or why they were arrested in the first place.
Getting that call is an unforgettable experience, and the actions you take as the person your loved one will depend on to get out of jail may influence their case. The most important thing you can do for them is remain calm and focus on getting them released as quickly as possible.
Step 1: Remember Where They’re Calling From
When you discover that someone close to you has been arrested, remember that they may be calling you from a police station or local jail. Keep things confidential. Naturally, you will want to learn the story of how your relative or friend ended up in jail, but be sure to keep the conversation short and only ask for key information about where they’re being held and why. It is almost guaranteed that your phone call will be monitored or recorded, and any information they give you may be used against them. Your loved one should keep details about your arrest to themselves until they get a chance to speak with a criminal defense attorney.
Step 2: Contact the District Attorney’s Office
If your friend or relative is being held in the San Diego Central Jail, you’ll want to contact the San Diego County District Attorney. When you call them, ask questions to learn more about your loved one’s arrest. It’s important to get as much information as possible to help your relative or friend prepare for their arraignment.
Some questions you can ask include:
- My relative’s (or friend’s) car was impounded when they were arrested. How can you release the vehicle to a third party?
- When is my relative’s (or friend’s) arraignment date? What time is their arraignment? Where will the arraignment be located?
- How should my relative (or friend) prepare for their arraignment? What happens if they do not show up?
Keep in mind that the arraignment is the very first court appearance after being charged with a crime. Your relative or friend will appear before a judge who will read them the charges against them. Your relative or friend will then have the opportunity to plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest. Each of these pleas has consequences, and your friend or relative should consult an experienced criminal lawyer to make an informed decision as to which plea will provide them with the best opportunity for a solid defense.
The court will also determine whether to set bail and, if so, how much it will cost to release the defendant. Bail is a way for the court to ensure that your relative or friend will return for their next court appearance and abstain from committing further offenses. Bail also ensures that the defendant will not flee. Individuals who are deemed a flight risk may be held without bail.
Step 3: Help Your Loved One Retain Quality Criminal Representation
Finally, your loved one should retain an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Ideally, the lawyer would represent your loved one at their arraignment and communicate directly with the judge. Even if your loved one’s offense is relatively minor, having a conviction on their record will most likely carry long-term consequences that will create obstacles in their future. Just one criminal charge is also likely to show up on a background check and hurt their chances of pursuing several essential opportunities, such as obtaining gainful employment and housing.
As soon as you are able to discuss matters privately, be sure to ask your relative or friend whether they have a criminal defense lawyer in their contacts. If not, be sure to contact Attorney Dod of Dod Law for sound legal guidance during this stressful time.
San Diego Criminal Lawyer Challenges Criminal Charges in Southern California
Attorney Dod of Dod Law, APC in Downtown San Diego has worked with individuals facing criminal charges for more than 16 years and can help your loved one present a solid defense for their case. Acquiring knowledgeable legal counsel is one of the most important steps a person should take after being arrested. The sooner you acquire representation, the more time your attorney will have to review the facts of the case and start pinpointing weaknesses in the prosecution’s case against you.
Having a loved one run into trouble with the law is a stressful experience, but know that your friend is lucky to have you advocating for their interests. Attorney Dod takes pride in advocating for criminal defendants, and he has been included in The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 Trial Lawyers. Give Dod a call at (619) 814-5110 or complete our contact form for a free consultation.