Finding yourself arrested, in jail, and charged with a criminal offense is an incredibly traumatic event. Questions will immediately arise about what will happen. How long will I be here? Will I lose my job? What will happen to my children and family? Will I go to state prison? Being arrested and in jail is a dangerous place for you or a loved one.
The most important part of being in jail is protecting yourself. If you or your loved one is arrested and/or suspected of a crime, immediately call me at 209-617-2904, or 831-272-3536. When you talk to your loved one, tell them about these rules and speak nothing more to them about their case.
1. Keep your case to yourself.
The best way to protect yourself in jail is to keep your case to yourself and rely on your lawyer for help. All of your conversations with family members and friends are recorded. Anything written or received will be read. These conversations, letters and notes frequently become damaging evidence at trial. There are many other people in jail who will seek to befriend you and offer advice. They may offer details about their case to gain your confidence. In the meantime, they are talking to the police and prosecutors attempting to gain a better deal for themselves by promising to tell about some admission you may or may not have made. Guard your paperwork. Made up confessions can be based just on what someone learns about your case from your own possessions. Trust no one in jail. You cannot be too careful.
2. Do not talk to the police.
If the police believe that you are guilty of a crime, or know something about a crime, they will use nearly any means to get you to talk to them. Cops come with varying attitudes. They can be bullying and intimidating, or friendly and acting like they want to help. The last thing they want is for you to consult an attorney. If you are the subject of a police investigation, you have to protect yourself. If you are in jail, or suspected of a crime, ask for a lawyer and say nothing more!
If they are insistent, repeatedly tell them “Officer, I don’t mean any disrespect, but before questioning I want to talk with my lawyer.” Say nothing else! Spontaneous statements, further polite conversation, further interrogations, all will be counted against you. You can always talk later with your attorney present. Demand an attorney. Say nothing!
3. Have no contact with alleged victims or witnesses except through your lawyer.
Contacts with alleged victims and witnesses are fraught with danger. All phone calls from jail are recorded. Letters and notes are read. These phone calls, messages and notes can be displayed and replayed in court. Vindictive persons can completely distort what you say or make up things you didn’t say. Reports to the D.A. can result in your bail being revoked or new charges of intimidating a witness being added.