When someone is arrested, our criminal defense attorneys in Charleston, South Carolina usually get a call from the arrested person’s husband, wife, boyfriend, or girlfriend. It’s typical for these callers to be stressed and confused when the person they care about is sitting in jail. They want to know how they can see or speak to their friend or loved one, how to get the person out of jail, and what they can do to help. In this article, our Charleston criminal lawyers explain what you should know and do if someone you care about is arrested and jailed in South Carolina.
During the Arrest of Your Family Member or Friend is Arrested
Stay calm. If you’re are at the scene of the arrest, stay calm. The last thing you want to do is get arrested too, so don’t interfere in any way. Also, don’t try to rile up your friend or loved one or encourage them to resist arrest. If you think the arrest is a misunderstanding, then respectfully and calmly explain why to the arresting officers. However, don’t get sideways with the officers if they still arrest your friend or loved one.
Get information. Get as much information as you can from the arresting officer or other officers on the scene. Ask where your family member or your friend is being taken, get the names of the arresting officers, find out the name of the charge or charges, and when and where the bond hearing to take place.
After Your Family Member of Friend is Arrested
Stay strong. Your spouse or family member is probably worried about what will happen next. Even if they’re putting on a good front for your benefit, remember how stressful this can be. Let them know you that you’re there for them and that you have the under control for now.
Don’t discuss what happened over the jail phone. Let’s suppose you get a collect call from the local jail from your husband, wife, child, etc. If you’re weren’t there for the arrest, then you’ll want to know what happened. DON’T ASK because JAILS RECORD CALLS. Your call can be used in court to prosecute your loved one or friend. Also, if your spouse or loved one even begins talking about the case, stop them immediately and tell them not to talk to ANYONE, even their cellmates. They’ll have plenty of time to talk privately with you or a lawyer about the criminal charge. Having said that, find out the type of criminal charges your loved one is facing.
Call a lawyer. Most criminal defense lawyers, including our attorneys at Futeral & Nelson, will give you a free consultation on criminal cases. Since your spouse or loved one can’t help himself or herself from jail, you can do a lot of groundwork for him or her. If you get an attorney involved from the start, your lawyer can quickly find out why there was an arrest and what criminal charges your loved one may be dealing with. Also, the lawyer can help you get your loved one out of jail by speaking to the judge during a bond hearing. For an explanation of bond hearings in South Carolina, CLICK HERE.
Ask the lawyer what you can do to help. Usually, there is nothing you can do to help the criminal case. However, you might be able to do other things to help with the bond or with sentencing if the case comes to that. Make sure the lawyer has all of your contact information so he or she can reach you on short notice. Most importantly though, don’t do anything without running it by the lawyer first.
Call a bondsman. Sometimes, when a person is arrested, there may be an immediate bond hear afterwards. Sometimes you’ll have to wait until the end of the day or the next day. If your friend or loved one is released on a Personal Recognizance bond (PR bond), then they won’t have to pay any money to get out of jail. However, if there’s a bond, it could range from hundreds of dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars or more. In that case, you’ll need a bondsman to get your friend or loved one out of jail. Call a bondsman to have him or her on standby to post bond.
Call their employer. Whether your friend or loved one is arrested during the day or night, chances are he or she will miss work the next day while waiting on a bond hearing. Call their employer and let their boss know that the will miss work. Don’t tell the employer why; simply tell the employer that there’s been a family emergency.
Don’t speak with the victim or any witnesses. Although you may know the victim or some of the witnesses in the case, don’t contact these people. If you do, you run the risk of being accused of “witness tampering” which could cause problems for you and your family member or friend.
When Your Family Member or Friend Can’t Get Out of Jail
Visit often. In a word, jail is “miserable.” With nothing but time on their hands, your family member or friend is likely worrying constantly. You’re their connection to the outside world, so stay connected by visiting.
Encourage others to visit. Try to set up a schedule with friends and other family members to visit at different times to boost the jailed person’s morale.
Learn the jail’s rules and regulations. Find out whether you can send gifts or money. Often, there is a canteen inside the jail where inmates can spend money. Make sure they have some spending cash in the account if you have a little extra. Find out when visiting hours are so you don’t waste any trips. Make sure your friend or loved one knows that the jail will usually only allow authorized visitors and that they need to add the people they want on the list.
Consider professional counseling. Many people have a difficult time dealing with a spouse or loved one who is stuck in jail. If the situation becomes overwhelming, you’re not alone. There might be professional services (some free of charge) in your area. Don’t be embarrassed to seek out a place like this if you think it could help you. One visit can’t hurt, and go from there.
Criminal Defense Attorneys in Charleston
If you need help because someone you care about has been arrested in or near Charleston, South Carolina, then contact us immediately for a FREE consultation. We’re here to help you every step of the way.