What to do when a loved one’s been arrested?

A question that I am asked a lot is, “What to do when a loved one’s been arrested?”  What happens is that You will get a telephone call most probably from the jail in which your loved one tells you they are either being arrested or have been arrested.  If the phone calli s from jail, the most important thing is not to ask them what happened.  Calls from jails are recorded, and any information that is discussed will be provided to the prosecutor of the case. You must wait until they are out of jail before asking them about specific details about what happened.

The information you need to find out:

  • What jail are they being held at or taken to?
  • Is a county jail, city jail, or a federal jail?
  • What are the charges against them?
  • How much is the bond for each charge?

Bond
Most bonds are cash bonds, property bonds, and surety bonds; unless it is for failure to come to court, then it would be a cash bond.  Cash bonds are usually only for missing court, and the amount of the bond is based on the fines and costs that would be charged in the case.

Types
Release on Your Own Recognizance
or referred to as a Signature Bond.  Most cases require a bond to be paid.  There are three other ways to pay the bond.

Cash – A person can go to the jail where you are held and deposit with the designated person cash in the amount of your bond plus a $35.00 bail bond fee.  This money will be held until the case is resolved, and at that time, it will be either used to pay fines and costs with the difference returned to the person, or it will be returned to the person who paid the bond.

Surety “Bail Bondsman” – This is a process where someone calls a Bail Bond company that is licensed to bail people out of the jail where you are held.  The fee to the Bail Bonding company for this service is usually 10 – 15% plus a $35.00 bail bond fee.  Both of those fees are not refundable but are just the service fee to the bonding company.  Once the payment is paid, the bonding company will go to the jail and sign the bond for your release. We recommend Fresh Out Bail bonds (205) 957-6541.  There are many other firms that you can use.

Property Bond – If a person has property in the county where you are being held, that property may be able to be used to pay the bond.  The person will need the deed for each piece of property, and all owners listed on the deed have to be present to sign the Bond.  The value of the property must be more than the amount of the bond.  The Sheriff is the person who determines if the property can be used to make the bond.  It is essential that you call the Sheriff’s bond office to confirm what information you need to provide them to have them approve a property bond.

Once the Bond is Paid
The most important thing to do once the bond is paid is to get your loved one home.  Let them get a good night’s rest, a shower, and then call an attorney.  Your loved one will be panicked and anxious, calm them down. Set up an appointment to meet with the attorney. It is crucial that you do not ask a lot of details about what happened, that is a discussion that needs to be between the attorney and your loved one.  By only your loved one and the attorney discussion the details of what happens to preserve the attorney-client privilege.  If you are there and something is discussed that is detrimental to your loved one’s case because the attorney-client privilege is breached. The Meeting with the attorney needs to be only that person and the attorney only.  If a third party is present unless the person is a minor and a parent is in there, or the person that has mental issues that they require a guardian, it breaches the attorney-client privilege.

Appointed Attorney
What happens if your loved one cannot afford an attorney?  If your loved one cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed to you by the court. At their first hearing, they will need to ask for an attorney to be appointed to them.  The court staff will hand them a document titled Affidavit of Substantial Hardship.  It will require that your loved one disclose their income, the value of any real estate, the value of vehicles (including cars, motorcycle, RV, ATV, and boats) jewelry, and anything else of value that they have and their estimated value.  Based on income and the value of the assets, the judge will determine if your loved one is eligible to have an attorney.  The request for an appointed attorney should be made the first time your loved one goes to court.  You must have that determination made immediately so that your loved one is represented throughout the legal process.

The most important thing is to take that phone call from your loved one, not ask what happened, get them released from jail, and then work from there.

If you have any questions, you can call us at (205) 685-8383, or you can email JohnAaron@AaaronLawFirm.com or you go to our website www.AaronLawFirm.com. Thank you.

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