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Who will help?

Legal aid

There are various sources which can offer assistance to someone who has been arrested. First, get an attorney. Usually that will mean a Public Defender to get started. If you can afford a private attorney, get one right away and have a bail hearing immediately. You will need a Criminal Attorney if you are charged with a crime.

Family support will help at this time. Not just financial, but help to provide the strong support that will be needed to show the arrestee that the family is facing the situation together. Thoughtful words will be very appreciated during the legal proceedings. That also applies to friends and employers. You will be surprised how much a strong letter writing campaign to a judge at sentencing time will have. Don't go it alone unless you have no ther choice.

There are legal aid organizations which will offer help for certain offenses and for certain individuals and for certain crimes. Check the phone book and internet for "legal aid" or "legal aid society."

There are some support groups which might be helpful, but never go into any details or say anything you will regret later. A support group might be able to help your family with visiting procedures and legal forms. If someone has been through what you are facing, they can be expert advisors.

Politicians?

Now is the time to check with your local political figures who might have some influence. It all depends on what the offense or alleged offense is and who is being charged. If we are talking of a first offense, a young person who has clearly made a mistake in judgement, that will be an easier case to plead for dismissal or expunging than a seasoned criminal who has been incarcerated numerous times. Depending on the size of the community, there are some people who might wield some influence on a court system. A minister or school official in small towns might be able to vouch for an arrestee's appearance in future court proceedings. If not, check for legal aid through the internet and phone book.

The more friends you have in high places at the time of your court proceedings, the more impact you will be able to have in controlling the outcome. Whether it is right or not, one letter from the Governor supporting your release will be worth 50 from family and friends. It just is a reality. If you are not able to get the support from political or church persons, do not give up. Letters from family and friends will be helpful when needed.

Witnesses

Make sure the witnesses who are on your side will be able to appear when needed. If they need transportation, arrange that. It is probably best not to talk with witnesses about what they will be saying on the witness stand. A prosecutor might ask if the defendant has told the witness what to say.

Be sure to check for help from people who might not have been actual witnesses to the alleged criminal activity, but witnesses who might be able to say something in your defense. An example might be someone who could testify if a certain phone was working or a street was being repaired or an auto mechanic who could describe how a certain car might not be able to go around a corner at a certain speed. Use your imagination to find helpful "experts."

Getting Help

Help from the other side

Police report

See if you or your attorney can get a copy of the police report. It is certain to have some errors or some interesting content which will be most helpful to you. You are entitled to all the evidence the District Attorney has. File for Discovery. The other side is bluffing about some of the things they say.

Trust nobody

ACLU

The American Civil Liberties Union often takes an interest in a particular legal case. Yours might be one of those cases. Even if you are not facing a charge which would normally interest them, maybe they have another case which involves the same arresting officer. Maybe that officer is under scrutiny for planting evidence. Check it out.

Landlords and Friends

If you are suddenly arrested you might have an immediate need for someone to feed your dog or cat. You might have some bills which need to be paid right away to keep your car from being repossessed. Maybe you need to cancel a construction project on your driveway. You will need a close friend to do everyday errands. Do not tell the police it is OK for them to check out your house while you are not there. Do not give the police permission to search your home while you are there.

Ask for help. It won't hurt.