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What To Do First If a Loved One Is Arrested by Federal Agents

February 6, 2022 Federal Criminal Attorneys
What To Do First If a Loved One Is Arrested by Federal Agents

If a loved one has recently been arrested by federal law enforcement officials, you understandably may be overwhelmed by stress. Stress may be combined with feelings like frustration, concern, fear and more. While it is reasonable to feel a cascade of conflicting emotions, it is important to maintain a level head. Your loved one will benefit from your full support at this time, but what can you do to help? The reality is that your actions at this point in the legal process could impact the case in critical ways.

Research Lawyers Carefully
The first step to take after a loved one has been arrested for a federal criminal offense is to hire a lawyer. In some cases, your family member may have been aware that he or she was the target of a criminal investigation, and an attorney may already be contracted. If so, you should connect with the criminal defense lawyer to discuss the most recent development. If your family member used his or her one phone call to reach you, your attention to this matter is crucial. Keep in mind that the initial court appearance after an arrest should take place no more than 72 hours afterward. The attorney needs as much time as possible to prepare.

If a criminal defense attorney has not yet been hired, it may fall on your shoulders to research the options carefully. Because an attorney needs to be engaged promptly, your research should begin as soon as you learn of the arrest. There may be numerous federal criminal defense attorneys serving your area, but be aware that they are not all the same. Most criminal defense attorneys specialize in a specific type of crime. You do not want to hire a DWI defense attorney for an armed bank robbery case because the attorney simply would not have knowledge of relevant case law and defense strategies. Because of this, you should initially narrow down your search for a defense attorney to those individuals with a relevant specialization.

You may have now narrowed down the options to a handful of attorneys. To further hone in on the right professional for the job, focus on specific work experiences. You can often learn about a professional’s background online, but you may need to make specific inquiries about relevant cases. You may also consider any related organizations the lawyer is affiliated with that could benefit the case.

Before making a hiring decision on behalf of your loved one, you should focus on a few additional factors. For example, does the individual have an excessively long track record of accepting plea bargains? Plea bargains offer value in some cases, but there are other times when a trial by jury may produce the most optimal outcome for the defendant. The attorney should not shy away from a courtroom battle. You may also inquire about the experiences of additional staff members who may be assigned to work on your family member’s case.

Request a Legal Consultation
At this point, you may have a handful of criminal defense lawyers in mind. You should immediately contact them to schedule an initial consultation. Many lawyers offer free consultations, so you should not shy away from using these opportunities to interview them before making a hiring decision. During an initial consultation, you can discuss the specific details of the case as you know them. This is also the time to inquire about the lawyer’s specific experiences that may be relevant to your loved one’s case.

A legal consultation also gives you the chance to get a feel for the lawyer’s personal skills. Is the lawyer a good communicator? Is he or she trustworthy and supportive? Keep in mind that some lawyers may try to earn business by telling you what you want to hear, but you should be wary of this approach. Your loved one is caught in a serious situation. You need a lawyer who will be honest with you even if the facts are hard to hear.

Learn About the Federal Criminal Process
Once a lawyer’s services have been engaged, you should let the lawyer take the lead. The lawyer will meet with his or her new client and will assume control of the situation. At this point, you will take on a supportive role. If you are not familiar with the federal criminal process, learning more about it is a great place to start. The process can be lengthy. The first steps after an arrest are usually an initial court appearance, the establishment of pretrial release terms and a review of the charges that the individual faces. This is followed by phases like discovery, filing initial motions and possibly plea bargaining. After potentially several months and if a plea bargain is not structured, the case will go to trial. This may be followed by sentencing and appeals if a guilty verdict is reached.

Has your loved one recently been arrested? Raiser & Kenniff Law Group is a team of criminal defense lawyers with a wide range of specializations. To request a consultation with one of our defense attorneys, contact the office today.

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What To Do First If a Loved One Is Arrested by Federal Agents

February 2, 2019

You can bet that getting a call that a loved one has just been apprehended by feds is the last thing you can hope for. Most people get confused and often do not know what to do. However you need to take the right steps if you are to assist them get released or get a fair hearing. Nonetheless it is not as easy as it sounds and various things must happen to have them get out fast or at least get a fair hearing in court. While things may vary a lot from a court to court, the following piece will educate you on what to do if they have been apprehended by agents from a federal agency. Also, it is important to understand that this may not apply if they have been arrested in a state court rather than a federal court. Without much ado, below is what you need to do.

 

  • Stay Calm

The first step is to stay calm and desist from divulging information. You should also remind them to stay calm as well, as this will help you think clearly as you think about proceeding with the next steps. In case they are talking to you through phone, remind them not say anything that will incriminate them, as normally this phone call is being monitored or recorded. Anything they say in the call may be used against them in court. Remind them that they have the right of remaining silent. Also remind them not to divulge unnecessary information before they speak to a lawyer. Then, find out where they are being held at and why they have been arrested. Also necessary is for you not to ask further details as this may get them start saying things that may incriminate them.

 

  • Initial appearance

Your loved one is supposed to be taken in for a hearing in a court. The hearing is also referred to as the initial appearance. Here, they will be told what charges they are facing. They will also be told about the rights they have. The judge will also tell them whether they will be taken to jail or released before being tried. In case they will be released, they will be informed about the conditions of the release.

 

Now, you are supposed to find out where the hearing will take place. Normally, the federal agents must have told you what charges your loved one is facing. As a rule of thumb always research on the internet for the name of the court. The federal courthouse may not be an obvious place for you, therefore it is wise to research were it is located.

 

Once you have these details, it is advisable that you call the court’s pretrial services office informing them of the arrest and possibly ask them to tell you when the case will be heard. If they are not sure yet, give them time to go through their records so that they give you accurate information. You can call them back later, maybe after an hour or so.

 

  • Hire an attorney

The next thing to do would be to hire an attorney if your loved one does not have one yet. While many people may ignore the services a lawyer during the initial appearance, it is wise. People who have a clean criminal history, and their current case is non-violence, have a higher chance of being released. This gives you ample time to search for a good lawyer. Usually judges have the federal public defender’s office in many districts. This handles the initial appearance in spite of whether your loved one will hire an attorney or not. This is of benefit especially if you can’t hire a lawyer in time.

 

  • Attend the hearing

Ensure you have a lot of time to visit the courthouse before the case starts. By this, you will find out whether the office has any questions about your loved one that could help them get released faster. If they have any questions, ensure you furnish them with clear and accurate information. Next, get to the courthouse. Whether closed or open, get in and talk to a lawyer. You will identify them by their dressing. Tell them the reason why you are there and ask them when the hearing will commence. Talk to the public defender, if they are the one handling the case.

 

  • What next after the hearing?

When the hearing is done, chances are that your loved one will regain freedom. Calm them down as this may be a traumatizing experience for them. If they are not being released, find out the jail where they will be held and find out the visiting hours. Also inquire how you can put money on the jail’s account where your loved one can use to buy food and other supplies so as to make life much easier for them.

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