No one ever really plans ahead to be arrested and knows what to do after an arrest until it actually happens.
That’s why it’s important to know what to do when you, a friend, or family member is arrested in any Texas county and how to get them “bailed out.”
The hours and days after an arrest can be confusing.
This is especially true if this is your first experience with the criminal justice system. We want to provide information here on what to do after an arrest and urge you to contact our criminal defense attorney’s office for advice specific that would be specific to your loved one’s arrest.
THAT FIRST PHONE CALL IS IMPORTANT
Many folks think that calling their family, a friend, or a lawyer after they have been arrested and are in jail.
In reality, a better action would be to first contact a bail bondsman and provide them with basic information about the charges and arrange bail.
Do not try to explain yourself or the circumstances to anyone, other than your lawyer, around your arrest.
But first make arrangements to:
- Get someone to get in a car and physically go to the county jail and pay the bail amount in full (which is a “cash bond”)
- Or get them to hire a bail bond company to post bond for you (called a “surety bond”)
The “bail” is the dollar amount set by a judge that has to be paid to the county in order for your friend or family member to be released from jail. If the money is paid, the person is released. Later on, if the person’s case is filed and they fail to appear in court to respond to the charges, the money is forfeited to the county and you can’t get it back.
By arranging a bond with a bail bond company you only pay a percentage of the total bond amount and they take that as their fee for posting the entire bond. However, unlike a “cash bond,” which is refunded after the criminal case is finished, the bond company’s fee is non-refundable for a surety bond.
Believe it or not, there is little a criminal defense attorney can do while you or your loved one is still in jail. If your loved one calls a family member or friend, they need to get that person to arrange for a bond with a local bail bond. It may take time to get that arranged and you may expect the bond process to take at least several hours to possibly 16 hours.
KEEP QUIET UNTIL YOU TALK TO A LAWYER
If you are arrested give as little information as possible to the police. These conversations with law enforcement can all be used as evidence against you.
You may need to give the bond company basic information about the charges against you. Again, do not try to explain yourself or the circumstances around your arrest.
Only talk to your Lawyer about your case.
Make sure you only talk to your lawyer about specifics surrounding your arrest before you talk to anyone else, even your friends or loved ones about the arrest as they may be brought into your case in some instances to testify against you.
Keep in mind by getting a criminal defense attorney, your attorney should proactively try and keep the charges from ever being filed. A good criminal defense attorney will also try and get the bail amount reduced.
After an arrest, your first hearing is usually an arraignment. If at all possible, hire a lawyer before your arraignment. Answer questions you are asked by the Judge, do NOT talk too much about your actions during their arraignment. Remember that any statements at the arraignment can also be used against you in criminal court. Trust your criminal defense lawyer to deal with court procedures and the process. They will be your spokesperson and will be negotiating with prosecutors for you. If you don’t have the money to hire a lawyer and you are declared indigent, one will be appointed for you. If you are looking for an attorney the Judge will give you additional time to find one.
FEDERAL CRIMINAL CHARGES
After an arrest by federal law enforcement officers, not Texas law enforcement officers, you will be taken almost immediately before a federal magistrate judge in the nearest federal court for an initial appearance.
You will be asked basic questions about your personal background. The federal Judge will ask if you can hire a lawyer or if you need a court-appointed lawyer. After this hearing, you are allowed to make phone calls to friends or family to arrange for legal representation.
Again, remember that any statements in court, to law enforcement, or even to friends and family can be used against you.
Once you have an attorney for your federal criminal case you will have a probable cause or detention hearing. At this hearing, the Judge will decide whether you may be released on bond. If possible, your lawyer should represent you at this probable cause hearing.
Blizzard and Zimmerman Attorneys stand ready to assist you with Texas state criminal cases and federal court criminal cases anywhere in the United States.