Step One: Retain An Attorney
The very first thing you should do is to retain the services of a good attorney to represent you. The best time to find an attorney is before you get arrested. After your arrest, you will have a narrow amount of time to get represented, make official statements, and attend court appearances. The topic of finding the best attorney to represent you is beyond the scope of this article.
Step Two: Deciding Who To Call During Your Arrest
The next thing you should do is to decide who you will call - your designated contact - when you are arrested. If you are married this decision is probably a "no-brainer." For those people who are single, this question may require some planning, some serious conversation, and some forethought.
This person should be someone that resides in your local area, someone you trust, and someone who will answer his phone whenever you call. Hopefully, you will have a land-line phone number (i.e. not a cell phone number) of your designated contact which does not have a "collect call block" on his telephone. Otherwise, your one phone call from the jail will have been in vain. If your allowed phone call from jail is wasted, you face the worse possible prospect: being incarcerated under tough circumstances over a long weekend with nobody knowing about it.
Moreover, you may want your designated contact to be your attorney. Please keep in mind that if you don't have his personal land-line phone number at his home and you happen to be arrested on a Friday night, it may be several days before he is aware of your predicament when he checks his messages at the office. Thus, although you may have to endure a long weekend under unpleasant circumstances in jail, but at least you will know he will find out later. Keep in mind though that he may have some other obligations to other clients at the time he gets your call - so be patient.
Case Study: Jim Has A Long Weekend In Jail
To further drive home the importance of having a designated contact, just imagine this scenario: Jim, a single person who lives alone is forced to defend himself on a Friday night. He doesn't have a designated contact and he only visits his family members sparingly. He has all of their cell phone numbers in his own personal cell phone.
However, he had never learned their phone numbers "by heart." All he had to do in the past was scroll his cell phone's address book and select the name of the person he wanted to call. Thus, when the police made a decision to arrest Jim and later allowed him to make his one collect phone call, he couldn't use his personal cell phone because it had been admitted into and stored into the property room. Jim doesn't know a land-line phone number for any of his family members or a single attorney.
Thus, he guesses incorrectly when trying to call his brother and blows his chance at getting out of jail relatively quickly. Jim will spend two more nights behind bars before he is arraigned on the ensuing Monday morning when he should have been at work. At his court appearance he "stood mute" as he didn't know what to say and didn't think that his best interests were being presented by the public defender. A bond amount was established for his release. A pre-trial court date was also set.
However, since Jim didn't have a family member available to hire a bailbondsman for only ten percent of his bond amount, Jim was sent to the county jail to languish for another week before family members started to get concerned about not hearing from Jim. Jim's siblings called all the hospitals and all of the law enforcement agencies in the area and they were finally able to find him and bail him out of jail.
Now out of jail, Jim has a limited amount of time to find an attorney to represent him in court. His prospects of actually hiring a good lawyer are now slimmer than they would've been over the weekend when he was first jailed. You see, Jim did not call into work and offer an excuse for his week-long absence. Under Jim's employer's HR Policy, a failure to come to work three straight days without calling is considered a voluntary quit. Thus, Jim does not have a job. Jim faces a rough road.
Step Three: Investigate Bail Bond Companies
The next thing you should do is to research bail bond companies in your area. Bail Bond companies have primarily one role: provide bail money to people accused of a crime so that they can be released from jail to prepare for their defense.
Some info that you will want to research and discover about these firms are the following: their hours of operation, their hours of availability, the largest amount bail bond that they are willing to underwrite, what the requirements for a bail bond are from this company, how long it will take to get the bail bond to the respective court or the prevailing law enforcement agency, if the company has toll-free phone numbers, and if the company accepts collect phone calls.
Step Four: Establish An "Arrest Day" Fund
The next thing you should do is to establish an emergency cache of money to be used to pay the ten percent amount of the bond to the bailbondsman to get you out of jail. As part of your consultation with your attorney in Step One above, you need to determine how much of a total bond amount you will need for a typical self-defense case.
For example, if you and your attorney feel that you may need to prepare for a $100,000 bond - you will need to save atleast $10,000. Further, once this fund is established, you will need to facilitate a way for your trusted and designated contact to acquire access to this fund while you are arrested. If your designated contact is your attorney, this access issue with the funds can be resolved by placing the appropriate dollar amount in your attorney's retainer.
Step Five: Develop A Plan
The next thing you should do is to develop a plan to get you out of jail quickly. If you already have a designated contact to call, a short list of bailbondsmen to call, and a lawyer on retainer, you are almost home. Upon your arrest, call your designated contact and have him get in touch with your attorney.
Start the process of determining who you will call first and what actions should be taken by whom. Between the actions of members of your "Get Out Of Jail Team," you can rest assured that you will not languish for too long of a time behind bars. The piece of mind of having this plan in place will allow you to make the best of a bad situation that hopefully will not last too long.