What to Do If You or a Loved One is Arrested

1. If you can get out of jail on your own, then do so without delay.

Do not wait to see the judge. Frequently, your best bet is to be out of jail when your case is set for Initial Appearance the day (or two) after your arrest. That hearing provides a great opportunity for the judge to add on a bunch of extra conditions on you before you leave while you stand silently and take it.

On the other hand, if you post the entire bail bond, you should know that the State of Florida has plans to keep your money. If you don’t have enough money to post a bond and hire an attorney, you should see the attorney first. Jail sucks. Prison sucks a lot more. As badly as you want to get out, just try and imagine six months, a year or several years on the inside. Steven Tinsley knows it is easy for your lawyer to say “hire me” before you bond out, but you have to imagine what it is going to feel like going back after you have gotten out.

If it is after hours or a weekend, call 407-933-2020and leave a message stating that you have an emergency and that you need to see an attorney immediately. There are many cases where the initial bond is set high and your attorney can be reasonably certain of having it reduced by the judge (although you will need to talk to your lawyer about how long that might take). There are other types of cases where it is a virtual certainty if the client goes to the Initial Appearance the next day, the judge will increase the bond and heap a load of extra restrictions and conditions on the client. In that case, the client wants to bond out before that happens. Talk to a Team lawyer before you decide to wait.

2. If you cannot get out of jail on your own, you need to have someone contact an attorney for you. While you are waiting for your family to hire an attorney, there are some basic things you need to know.

A. Do not discuss your case over the jail telephone. Jail telephones are recorded for a reason. In March of 2010, a lead investigator for the Osceola County Investigative Bureau testified in Circuit Court that he deliberately interviewed a woman who was in jail, just so he could record the subsequent telephone he expected her to make to her boyfriend. In that case, the investigator was trying to generate evidence against the boyfriend and he was succesful to the tune of 15 years.

B. Do not discuss your case with anyone in the jail. As hard as it is to believe, some of the people in the county jail are not as spiritual or as honest as one would hope. If you give them details about your case, you might be giving them information which could be woven into a story calculated to help them at your expense.

C. Get the name (and if possible address and phone number) of every person who might have any information about your case. For example, if someone in the jail heard you when you changed your mind and asked to take the breath test once you got into the jail, your lawyer is going to need to find that person. You need to get the information and write it down (on your leg if necessary). It is not unusual for a county jail to have thousands of people in it. You don’t want your witness to be lost like a needle in a haystack.