Question: My husband was recently arrested for fighting. I am not sure what to do. He is currently in jail and I am afraid he will not get out. A popular attorney in the area says that he needs $20,000.00 for me to defend him. My husband is a very good man, and he told me that he was fighting in self defense. I really need help. The amount seems totally unreasonable in light of the overall circumstances. I am scared. My husband is scared too. I talk to him almost every day about his case to support him but am so worried. Please help me! May – Santa Ana
Answer: Dear May, I understand your fear. However, the first thing you need to do is calm down. You may be the only stable force in his life. If you do the following things, it should help you in helping your husband through this process.
- Remain Silent: It is imperative that your husband 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 husband is not an attorney and the more he talks the worse his case may become.
- Stop talking to your husband about his case: One of the worst things you can do is talk to your husband about his case, especially in the absence of his 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 every day is ok, but you must stop talking about the facts of his case.
- Get background information: It sounds like your husband has been jail for some time. However, one thing your husband needs to get is the information related to his arrest. What is his case number? What is his booking number? What jail is he located at? Background information helps any new attorney that works on his case.
- You may be released even without bail: Your husband may be allowed to be released on his 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 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.
I hope this helps. Good luck to you May!