When a loved one is accused of a crime, it’s devastating to the entire family. You might feel helpless and wish there was more you could do to support the accused person. This is especially true if the person was falsely accused of a crime. It can feel like the entire world has been upended. There are things you can do to be supportive and helpful during this trying time in the accused person’s life.
Go Through the Bond Process
After an arrest, you can put up the bond money so that the accused can be released from jail. Sitting in jail until a trial can be scary and unnecessary. Some cases are non-bondable so check with an attorney to see if there is a bond. The bond amount will depend on the nature of the crime and the individual circumstances. A good lawyer can get your bond reduced or if hired early enough, get a person released with no bond.
Hire a Good Lawyer
This is the most important part of the entire process. The right lawyer can make a difference between a person spending time in jail and being cleared of all charges. The lawyer will give you advice every step of the way from the time of arrest to the court proceedings. The lawyer could advise you to remain quiet during questioning, fight against certain testing or argue against parts of the investigation by the police. You might have to hire an attorney for the accused person if he or she is still in jail. It’s the single most important decision of the whole process.
Visit the Accused
If the person is still in jail, it can help immensely if you visit him/her in jail. They could have been moved from the local holding cell in the jail to a larger facility to await trial. It’s important to keep up their spirits and feel like all hope isn’t lost. To know that you still love and support he or she can mean so much to the accused. Find out what he or she is allowed to have in jail, like toiletries and, arrange the receipt of some to him or her. In some cases, inmates aren’t allowed to take items from friends and family, but they can have money to buy items inside.
Collect Physical Evidence for the Case
You could gather evidence for the case like videos, clothing or photos. These things should be brought to the lawyer. While you might think you can bring them to the police to prove the accused’s innocence, it’s always better to bring it to the lawyer and let him or her proceed with the evidence in the correct manner. Once a person has been arrested, it’s hard to get the police to drop the case. A lawyer will know what to do.
Collect Documents for the Case
There might be documents that can help your loved one’s case. Grab phone records, GPS details and financial records that might prove the innocence of the accused. You might talk to the lawyer about what he or she needs for the case. You might be the only one that can help with those documents.
Look for Witnesses
If you know the names and addresses of any witnesses to the event in question, you can provide this list to the lawyer. Don’t try to contact any of the witnesses before handing their name to the lawyer. A prosecutor could accuse you of trying to manipulate or scare a witness. It’s best to let the lawyer handle any questioning of witnesses.
Other people might have questions or want to gossip regarding what happened. It’s best to keep all discussions between you, your loved one and the lawyer involved in the case.
It’s vital that you support your loved one through this devastating time in his life. Be prepared for him to be angry and depressed. It’s important that you be understanding about it.