What Can I Do As a Loved One of Someone Who is Criminally Charged?
Here are some tips to keep in mind as you walk beside your loved one:
- Remain Silent: It is imperative that your loved one not tell anyone about the case. People of particular interest are law enforcement officials and other inmates. There is a tendency for people to want to show their innocence. However, your loved one is not an attorney, and the more he or she talks the worse the case may become.
- Stop talking to your loved one about their case: One of the worst things you can do is talk to your loved one about their case, especially in the absence of an attorney. There is no right, absent between attorneys and their clients for anything that is said between both of you, not to be overheard by third parties. As such, offering encouragement to him or her every day is ok, but you must stop talking about the facts of the case.
- Get background information: They should gather information related to their arrest. What is the case number? What is the booking number? What jail is he or she located at? Background information helps any new attorney that works on the case.
- You may be released even without bail: Your loved one may be allowed to be released on their own recognizance. This is referred to in jail as "O.R." What that means is that your husband can be released without having to make a down payment if he promises to come back for his court hearing. Many people sit in jail not realizing that they can ask for this. However, there is one important thing to remember; during the OR application process, do not discuss the facts of your case. The OR officer may ask you about personal issues (i.e. facts about employment, residence, family members, etc.). However, if the OR asks you anything else about the case, do not answer those questions.
- Free lawyers: In the United States, when the crime becomes really bad the government provides you with a free attorney. What does that mean? That means that if you are too poor to hire your own attorney, one can be provided to you. In your case, you can always ask to be represented by the government, thereby allowing you to receive free legal representation.