A criminal arrest affects many people, not just the accused. If a family member, close friend or other loved one has been arrested, you may be feeling scared, helpless and even angry. Here are a few tips to help you navigate this difficult situation.
Be careful what you say
Criminal defendants should be careful what they say about an alleged offense. The same holds true for people who are close to the accused. Careless statements, even if well-intended, can turn a slam-dunk defense case into an uphill battle. If you have knowledge about the alleged incident in question, your words carry even heavier weight. Be especially careful when having conversations with your loved one while they are talking on a jail phone.
Place medical needs at the forefront
The National Alliance on Mental Illness offers some useful advice on helping a loved one get through a criminal arrest. If the detained person is on medication, whether for a mental health or physical condition, it is imperative they get the treatment they are accustomed to getting, even while in jail. In some cases, a family member can aid this process by getting in contact with their loved one’s doctor.
Don’t forget about your own mental health. This is a trying time and you, as well your loved one, need a support network. If the feelings become overwhelming, consider speaking with a mental health professional.
Talk with an attorney
A jail is a poor place to research, vet and contact defense lawyers. If you want your loved one to have an effective legal advocate, these tasks may fall upon you. Once you have enlisted the services of a skilled defense lawyer, he or she can begin building a case on your loved one’s behalf.
A knowledgeable attorney can also advise you on issues such as bail bonds and securing the detained person’s release. Mistakes during any part of this process can make the situation more difficult than it has to be. By enlisting the services of a trusted criminal law attorney, you can rest assured that everything is being done to get your family member or friend out of this situation as soon as possible.