Don’t despair if you’ve been arrested. There are many professionals out there that can help.
Being arrested can be a strange and troubling affair, especially if you’ve never been in trouble with the law. The good news is that you aren’t alone. If you’ve been taken to jail or prison, here are a few professionals who can help.
If you’ve been arrested for any reason, your first call should be to a lawyer. You’ll want a criminal defense lawyer since you’ve been accused of a crime. There are many ways that they can defend you in court, including claims of innocence, intoxication, self-defense, coercion, duress, and more. A good lawyer can also assist you with everything from paperwork to testimony preparation as your case gets ready to be seen by a judge. If you don’t find a lawyer on your own, a public defender will be assigned to you, but public defenders are notoriously overworked and underpaid. Your best bet is to find your own legal representation.
A bail bondsman can help you get out of jail after being arrested. They act as what’s known as a “surety,” or guarantor, who assumes responsibility for you returning to the court after you’ve made bail and gotten out. They’re commonly contacted by defendants who can’t afford to make bail on their own. The bondsman will pay instead, and they’ll charge a certain percentage of the bail for this service, usually around 10 percent of the total amount. They can charge additional fees if you break the bail agreement and try to flee or avoid court. If you find yourself behind bars without the money to secure your release, a bail bondsman can help. You can search for them on your own or ask your lawyer for a referral.
Bail bonds office. Image via Wikimedia Commons/user:Daniel Schwen. (CCA-BY-4.0).Parole Officer
If you’ve been jailed but released on parole, you’ll be assigned a parole officer (PO) meant to monitor that you remain in compliance with the terms of your release. Parole officers are responsible for making sure that you stay on the straight and narrow after your return to society. They might facilitate drug tests, ensure that you find housing and employment, and monitor your attendance at things like mental health programs. You can’t choose your parole officer, but you can form a good relationship with them and utilize them as a resource for turning your life around after your imprisonment.
Don’t despair if you’ve been arrested. There are many professionals out there that can help, and by understanding their jobs and what they can and can’t do for you, you can navigate the new challenges that you’re facing with a smarter, more informed perspective.
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