If your significant other is arrested, you might be feeling overwhelmed with a constant flurry of emotions ranging from anger, worry, sadness, and confusion. You may ask yourself endless questions that you don’t immediately have the answers to and you start thinking and worrying about how a single mistake will turn your entire world upside down.
Dealing with your significant other arrested can feel permanent and life-changing…because it usually is. While you can’t reasonably prepare for how an arrest or a conviction can affect your future, what you can do is take the following steps to get through this difficult time and eventually get your life back in order.
1. Take a Few Deep Breaths
While this may sound like a cliché, but there is no greater truism then taking a few deep breaths upon learning something shocking, like your spouse/significant other is in jail. Taking a few deep breaths will help calm your nerves and help get your mind focused on the tasks that you now face. During this time it is important to remember one thing, do NOT talk about the case with your loved one while they are in jail over any phone calls, emails, or during visitations where a phone or video system is used. Your calls visits are recorded and can be used during trial. If your loved one wants to talk about the case, remind them that the call is recorded and change the topic.
2. Contact a Lawyer
One of the first things that you need to do is to hire an experienced lawyer to help your loved one. While some charges are more complex than others, consulting, and retaining an experienced attorney early on can help make the process easier to deal with. Getting an experienced attorney hired right away allows them to begin investigating the case immediately, and see what holes may exist which can be used to avoid an actual criminal case from being filed. It is important to remember, just because your loved one was arrested, that does NOT mean that the State will file a case reflecting that exact same charge.
3. To Bond or Not to Bond
During that first call with your loved one after they are arrested, the question of getting them out will come up. Depending upon the charge, and the jurisdiction, there may be several options available to you when dealing with the ‘get me out of here’ request. In Williamson County, Texas, certain misdemeanors may qualify for a personal recognizance bond (a/k/a PR Bond). This is a bond where the defendant promises to show up at the court date and may need to post a nominal administrative fee. If a PR bond is not an option, then the question is can you afford to put up the full amount in cash or hire a bondsman to assist with the posting of a bond. Some bonding companies are easier to work with than others, so if you are not sure, ask your lawyer.
If you cannot afford to bond your loved one out, or if there are some restrictions or bond conditions that make bonding your loved one out too difficult, there are some things that you need be aware of that will help you as the case progresses. For instance, did you know that only certain people can visit individuals in the jail during certain days and hours? Do you know if the jail where your loved one is residing has a commissary system or other system where individuals can purchase things during their stay? Will your loved one’s medical conditions be met? Contacting the jail to figure out the answers to these and similar questions before you drive down there will help relieve some unnecessary stress that you could otherwise face.
4. Make a Plan
While an experienced attorney, and compassionate bonding company, will handle most of the issues that you and your loved one will face with the legal system, there are some things that you need to plan for, or at least think about.
While you can’t know for certain what’s to come in a court sentencing, you can develop a game plan for several different scenarios that will affect your life moving forward. For instance, if your significant other has been arrested for a DWI, the State will move forward for a driver’s license suspension before the criminal case is resolved through an administrative hearing. Knowing that this is going to occur, you can make arrangements for transportation, or simply have an outlined plan on the backburner just in case.
Having a distinct plan for potential outcomes will inevitably cause you to face your fear of what’s to come, but it can also help you avoid initial shock and anxiety if this situation occurs.
5. Learn About Options for First-Time Offenders
For those who are arrested and don’t have a criminal record, there are some options available to get life back on track quickly. One example includes Texas’s Second Chance Law, which allows first-time offenders who receive a DWI to “seal” their first-time conviction from potential employers.
Another option is the Williamson County Pre-Trial Intervention Program, which is also suited for first-time offenders, this program seeks to divert offenders with little or no criminal history from traditional criminal justice. The best way to find out about which pathways are available to you is to consult your attorney.
Whether you or your significant other is facing a conviction after an arrest, this is likely an incredibly difficult time for you and your family. Having an experienced criminal defense attorney by your side to represent your rights and to help you navigate through the process is detrimental, especially when facing criminal charges.
If you or your significant other has been arrested, contact our office immediately.