Few things can strike fear into a person's heart than being arrested. Being guilty of a crime is not necessarily a prerequisite for being arrested and put in jail. By some estimates, at least 66% of the people who are in county jails around the United States have not been convicted of anything. There are things you can do, say expert criminal defense attorneys, to help your case. Here are some things you need to do if you have been arrested:
- Keep your mouth shut. The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives people protections against self-incrimination. Many people learned what their Miranda Rights are on shows such as "Law and Order." When the police officer tells you that "you have the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you," they mean it. This is also true of any conversations you have on the phone at the jail. The guards are listening to that and they will turn transcripts of your calls to the prosecutor. This is hard for many people to do but is the best thing you can do after you have been arrested.
- Bond out as soon as you can. The Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects people from cruel and unusual punishment and excessive bail. Now, that is subjective and judges can make your bond just about anything they want to. If you can bond out, this is the next best thing you can do for your case. This will allow you to talk to criminal lawyers and hire the right criminal defense lawyer for your case. Some people may say that you can do just about anything for your case in jail that you can do out of jail but that is just plain false.
- Find a good criminal justice attorney. This can be hard for people that have never even thought about talking
to criminal defense attorneys. You may not know where to start with your search but these tips should help:
- Talk to people you know. Getting a good recommendation from someone you trust can make a big difference.
- Go in for free consultations. Law firms offer a free first consultation to prospective clients. This lets them get to know you and you can get to know them.
- Talk to at least three criminal defense law firms. This will help you see what your criminal defense options are
- Get your questions answered. When you go in to talk to law firms, you need to ask about their experience, their fee structure, how much time they think your case will take, and what they think they can do for you. If they do not take the time to answer your questions, go to another law firm.
- Listen to the advice you get from your criminal defense attorney. If the experts at the criminal defense law firm give you advice, there is a good reason for it. Follow whatever advice they give you. They know what they are talking about and know the prosecutor in your case. For instance, if they set up appointments with other kinds of professionals, go to them. They have your best interests at heart and need to be listened to.
- Talk to a counselor. Being arrested and spending even a few hours in jail is a very stressful thing to go through. Facing a criminal investigation places a lot of stress on your life. This is not a time to neglect your mental health needs and this can have a negative impact on your case. There is no shame in asking for help if you need it and in situations like this, anyone can benefit from talking to a professional.
Remember, being charged with a crime is not at all the same thing as being convicted of a crime. In 2018, the Innocent Project was able to get nine people released from prison who were on death row. That may not sound like a very high number but it actually is. Your criminal defense attorney will tell you that the police get things wrong all of the time and in America, you are still innocent until proven guilty. You will live through this.