Help! My husband, friend, loved one etc. was just arrested!
I don’t know what to do next!
First, take a deep breath. There is a huge difference between being arrested, and being convicted. At this point the most important thing you can do is work to get your loved one released from jail. In most cases they are entitled to bail or could be released on their own recognizance. A licensed attorney can help prevent an arrest from turning into a conviction. You need competent legal assistance right away. A good bondsman can help get them out of jail quickly. They form a vital team in helping return your life to normal as quickly as possible.
If you are able to determine which law enforcement agency is making the arrest, and which facility they are being taken to please make note of this information. The information will prove to be important in getting them released promptly.
Once the booking process is completed bail is typically set. In some cases like murder or in the case of a previous failure to appear for a court date there is no bail and you will have to wait for the first court date. In other cases the person will be booked, and released on their own a few hours later. The attorney or bondsman will be able to determine what is likely to occur.
Depending on the level of charges (Felony v. Misdemeanor) and the nature and seriousness of the offense, the police may elect to simply issue a citation to the individual for a future court date. In other cases bail will be set and you can either post the entire amount on your own, or you can use a bondsman who will post the bail, and charge a premium for their services (around 10 percent of the bail amount. If the bail is high enough the bondsman may require you to post some collateral to ensure that the person makes their court dates.
If you are unable to post the bail, and the person is not released on their own recognizance they will be taken to court within a few days and the judge will revisit the bail issue. At this point the judge can release them without the need for bail, or change the amount of the bail.
It is important that you deal with a reputable and licensed bail agency. If you need assistance in locating such an agency ask your attorney for advice. They can explain to you who licenses bondsman, and how to locate a bail agent.
Question: The person arrested is not a Untied States Citizen. Should I be concerned about immigration?
Answer: ABSOLUTELY! You need to bail this person out of jail as fast as possible. Immigration could place a detainer on them at any time. A detainer is a request from immigration to hold that person for immigration proceedings. Once this is placed, bail becomes more complicated. If you are able to bail them out on the criminal charge, but immigration has placed a hold or detainer, then the local police could release them from jail, but immigration could still pick them up from jail without them being released from custody. Speed is essential to avoid this.
Question: My loved one has a green card, so why would immigration be involved?
Answer: A green card can be revoked in some cases. For example, a drug or domestic violence conviction can easily result in the government moving to revoke the green card which could lead to removal (Deportation).
Question: How can I find out information about my loved one?
Answer: This depends on who has arrested them. In Los Angeles County, you can check the Los Angeles County Sheriff inmate information website. www.lasd.org. If they are in federal custody try the Bureau of Prisons website at www.bop.gov. Ventura County Sheriff has their inmate locator at vcsd.org, and Orange County at egov.ocgov.com. Keep in mind that inmate location sometimes takes a little while to be updated.
Question: If the inmate calls me what should I tell them?
Answer: Tell them that they should NOT talk to the police. Ask them where they are being held, and if they know anything about charges, and bail amounts. Call your bondsman and lawyer and advise them about the information you were able to obtain.
Question: How will I be able to get a hold of a lawyer or bondsman since it is now outside business hours.
Answer: Most bondsman work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Call them and leave a message. They will typically call you back promptly. My office also deals with emergency situations and if you call our main number or send an email we will typically call you back promptly to provide you with guidance. You are not alone!
Question: I don’t have a lot of money, how can I afford an attorney or to post bail?
My office can offer you payment plans, and most bondsman will also offer payment plans.
Answer: What happens to my collateral? When the court proceedings are completed, the bondsman will release any collateral such as property liens that they placed when you applied for a bond.
Question: Do I have to own property or post collateral?
Answer: Not necessarily. Each bondsman has their own policies, and you should talk to them about your particular situation.