Out of the blue – someone you love has been arrested and is in jail. What should you do? What do you need to know? This handy guide offers ten tips on how to get your loved one out of jail.
He or she is in jail. That means their ability to act on their own behalf is severely limited – at least until they get out.
Keep these ten tips in mind:
1. Regain emotional balance
Being arrested and jailed is just about always a huge shock, and an unwelcome one at that. Even more so for loved ones. They may feel a flood of conflicting emotions from anger to sadness to a sense of powerlessness.
But there are things you can do to help. Gaining knowledge and asserting some control will help you (and your loved one) regain your emotional balance; and your ability to begin problem-solving. Helping them get out of jail is a good first step.
2. Phone calls from jail
It is vital to understand that phone calls from jail are recorded and generally provided to police investigators and prosecutors. And a set of evidence discs labeled “jail calls” is not something defense lawyer Thomas Gallagher wants to see in one of his cases.
As a result, learn and apply this rule:
“Avoid talking about the incident that led to arrest over the jail phone.”
Of course you’re curious. And sure, they may want to tell. But don’t ask about it until they are out. And don’t let them tell you or talk about it on the phone!
Patience is even more important when the person is actually innocent. After all, they can and will twist words to help convict the innocent.
3. Big picture vs. immediate problem
In the long run, the most important thing is how the criminal case turns out in the end; the outcome. Avoid doing anything that could jeopardize that in any way (for example, jail phone calls).
In the short run, however, it’s important to get the accused person out of jail quickly if possible. Why? Having a job not only provides legal income; it also reassures that the defendant won’t break the law in the future.
But most importantly, being held in jail demoralizes. So they are are more likely to plead guilty – even when they are innocent.
Consulting a criminal defense lawyer is a good idea. We can help with everything discussed here, and then some. After a recent arrest, we (criminal defense lawyers) should help educate both the accused and their loved ones about:
- the big picture solutions, as well as
- solving the immediate problem of helping get out of jail on a pre-trial basis.
Start with a phone call. A jail visit may follow.
5. Bail bond company
After a recent arrest, with a pretrial release hearing coming up, a good bail bond company can provide helpful services; beyond simply posting a bail bond with the court. The criminal defense lawyer should be able to recommend one.
6. Arrest without an arrest warrant
Many people in jail were arrested without an arrest warrant. (An arrest warrant would include a preliminary finding of “arrest probable cause” by a judge.)
In Minnesota we have the so-called 36 hour and 48 hour rules limiting how long a person can be detained (in jail) without a judicial finding of arrest probable cause. Due to rules about which days count towards those limits, you may not need to know right now the specifics of how those rules are applied.
But you need to know: “how long can they hold her without filing a criminal charge; and without a pre-trial release (bail) hearing before a judge?” Because she will get out of jail without bail or conditions; if the prosecutor does not file charges within the deadline.
The easiest way to find out? Ask the jail: “what is the deadline for releasing him if charges haven’t been filed?” The Deputy at the jail will normally tell you, “noon,” of such-and-such day of the week. To go beyond that, call Thomas Gallagher or another Minnesota criminal defense lawyer.
7. Arrest with an arrest warrant
Minnesota Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rule 3.02, Subd. 2.
“Directions of Warrant. The warrant must direct that the defendant be brought promptly before the court that issued the warrant if the court is in session. If the court specified is not in session, the warrant must direct that the defendant be brought before the court without unnecessary delay, and not later than 36 hours after the arrest, exclusive of the day of arrest, or as soon as a judge is available.”
See also, Rule 4.01. A defense lawyer can use a violation of this rule to get a client out of jail.
8. Right to Pretrial Release
The Minnesota Constitution includes two clauses guaranteeing the right to bail. The first says “excessive bail shall not be required.” Minn. Const. Article 1, § 5, similar to the United States Constitutional protection against excessive bail.
The Minnesota Constitution, however, also provides: “All persons before conviction shall be bailable by sufficient sureties, except for capital offenses.” Minn. Const. Article l, § 7. Under Section 7, all persons are entitled to bail except those charged with capital offenses.
Minnesota no longer has the death penalty. So all defendants have the right to have bail set, to get out of jail on pretrial release.
9. Pretrial release hearing
A judge determines the conditions of release.
The purpose of conditions, including bail, is to assure a person’s appearance at future court proceedings. Court rules tell judges to release individuals without conditions; unless such a release “will endanger the public safety or will not reasonably assure the defendant’s appearance.”
There is no maximum bail for felonies. But the maximum bail for non-felonies is four times the maximum fine ($12,000 for a Gross Misdemeanor; $3,000 for a Misdemeanor). The defendant has the right to unconditional bail.
And most judges will set two bail amounts: one with and one without conditions to get out of jail. If a judge does not set an unconditional bail amount, the defense attorney can immediately request it.
The defendant will need to choose one of the two options. And he will not be able to change his or her mind later unless a judge allows that.
A person in jail can request that the court postpone consideration of pretrial release issues. Sometimes this is a good idea. But we can leave this as a point for discussion with the defense attorney, beforehand.
What if the jail, the police, the prosecution, or the court violate these rights? What remedies are available?
Get out of jail: One type of remedy forces a hearing or immediate release. A Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus, an equitable remedy, asks a judge to Order immediate release of a person from illegal detention.
Another approach is for the defense attorney to contact court officials to demand scheduling a prompt hearing.
If the police get a confession from an illegally detained person; the defense lawyer can ask the Judge to suppress the confession as illegal, coerced and unreliable.
In cases where bail has been set but the amount is too high, Thomas Gallagher has made multiple motions for a speedy trial, or immediate release pending trial, with some success.
For more information about pretrial release and bail
Do you have more questions about how to get your loved one out of jail?
Or do you need to find a good criminal defense lawyer for him or her?
You can call Minneapolis Criminal Lawyer Thomas Gallagher to discuss.
So he can help you.