How to Help a Friend Who Is Arrested in the Middle of the Night (or Day)

Anthony John Colleluori

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Criminal Defense Attorney

Contributor Level 15

Posted over 6 years ago. 3 helpful votes



Determine, If You Can, Where They Are Being Held

Find out the exact location of where they are being held. Ask for a phone number and if you can, try to determine what your buddy is charged with. DO NOT ask him what he did. Only ask if they told him what charge they arrested him for. Finally tell him that he should keep quiet and not answer any question other than pedigree information (such as name, address, place of employment). Then tell him a lawyer will be in touch with the police and maybe even go down to see him before arraignment.


Tell Your Friend to Demand to Speak to a Lawyer

Tell your friend to demand to speak to a lawyer. Have him do it while you listen on the phone so that if there is a claim he didn't invoke his right to counsel you can say that he did and you heard him do it. Tell him to tell the police that he will not speak (other than pedigree information) until a lawyer is there for him. Then tell him not to speak any further


Find a Lawyer Who Will Speak to You Right Away

Find a lawyer who either answers the phone or has an answering service that can page him. You want to speak to him in person and have him call the precinct. Be prepared to pay for that service. Also tell him you want to have him at the arraignment the next day (or whenever it is scheduled). Do not hire him for the whole case as this is something that should be handled in consultation with the accused.


Collect Money for the Arraignment

As soon as is practicable and within 24 hours of arrest if the accused is not already released by being given a DAT or Desk Appearance Ticket, the accused will appear in front of a judge for a formal rendering of charges. At this time, the defendant will be apprised of the charges, and asked to enter a plea (usually not guilty even if he is guilty) or if the case is a very serious one (a felony) then to request a conference date in a higher court. Finally a bail amount will be set. It can range from recognizance to a high amount or even in the most serious of cases, no bail amount at all (aka "Remand"). Gather enough money to pay the attorney and to make the bail. It is more important to get a good lawyer early than to get out of jail.


Bail Bondsmen and Legal Aid Lawyers

If you cannot afford both bail and a lawyer, hire the lawyer and buy a bail bond to secure your loved one's release. A bail bondsman will take a sum from you and a deed and use that to secure a bond for the court with a promise that the accused will return on each and every court appearance. The bond is an insurance amount written for the court and paying the court if the defendant should abscond. The bond is backed by property which the insurance company will confiscate if the accused breaches the bond.


Appear in Court

Come to Court for you friend. Be sure to be prompt and well dressed. Do not come in jeans or a party dress. Dress as if you were going to church or to a baptism and you were a Godparent. You will help the court see what your friend is like. He will likely look like hell after a night in lockup so your looking sharp will tell the court a little about what your friend is like. Shorts and halter tops are never appropriate for the court house. Even Bermuda shorts are no good unless you are in Bermuda.

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