1. Do not panic. Your family member needs a calm and composed friend to help them through this difficult situation.
2. Find out where your family member is being detained and which law enforcement agency arrested him or her and is investigating the alleged crime. The first time you learn about the arrest will probably be during a telephone call from your family member or the police. Do not discuss the details of the alleged crime over the phone. Tell your family member that you will hire a criminal defense lawyer for the, and to not say anything other than their name and address until the lawyer arrives. Remember, that anything your family members tells you, especially over the phone, will likely be recorded. Tell your family member to politely tell the police they do not wish to say anything until a lawyer arrives. Find out where your family member is being held, whether at the Martin County jail or a police station.
3. Try to find out from the police what the charge is. If your family member is an adult, they do not have to tell you, but ask anyway so you can relay this information to a criminal defense attorney.
4. Find a lawyer right away, even if it takes many phone calls and even if it is in the middle of the night. Spend some time researching lawyers or ask a friend or relative if they know a skilled criminal defense attorney. After hours, experienced criminal defense attorneys will either have their calls forwarded to them, have an answering service that will relay messages or check their messages and email often. Do not wait until the morning.
5. Provide as much information as possible to the lawyer about the charge, your family member’s background, the name of the arresting police agency, and where your family member is being held. The more information the attorney knows, the better he/she can help your family member.
6. Request that the lawyer attend the initial court appearance, the “first appearance” Here, bail is commonly set and it is advisable for the lawyer to attend the hearing. Oftentimes, a skilled attorney can assist in reducing the bail, especially if your family member has no previous convictions, is not a danger to society, is not a flight risk or that the State’s case is weak.
7. Ask your attorney for the names of several reputable bail bond companies, and call that bail bond company right away, day or night.
You may reach criminal defense attorney, Christian Van Riper, at (772) 283-8712 for more advice, or visit his criminal defense law firm at http://www.stuartcriminallawyer.com or his law firm's DUI defense website: http://www.stuartfloridaduilawyer.com.
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Van Riper & Nies, a military-veteran owned Florida criminal defense law firm, believes in personal attention, open and honest communication and hard work in fighting for their clients' Constitutional rights and freedom.