5 THINGS TO DO BEFORE SURRENDERING FOR ARREST
If the police have contacted you and informed you that you are going to be arrested, there are two ways you can react. You can get upset or you can consider yourself fortunate. The truth is, most people don’t leave their homes thinking they will be arrested at some point during the day. Having that information beforehand can be very helpful. While getting arrested sucks, knowing you are going to get arrested is better than not knowing. You can plan in ways that most people who are arrested can not. Below are five tips that can be helpful given the cards that you have been dealt.
1) GET YOUR AFFAIRS IN ORDER PRIOR TO YOUR ARREST!
One of the worst parts of being put in jail is the fact that you will go MIA. Many people will not know where you are. If you are arrested without warning, you can spend at least a day or two in jail without warning. If you know beforehand, you can work on getting your affairs in order. Call your job and let them know you will be out or away. Arrange for child care. Arrange for your car to be put somewhere safe. Pay any bills or other items that may be due during that time. Basically, you should schedule your affairs in advance as if you are going on a short vacation. Often, when people are arrested, they will be released pending trial or on bail. If you will need to get bailed out, start calling people and making arrangements for bail. In many jurisdictions, making bail arrangements prior to an arraignment can lead to your being released quicker. Also try to get your inmate booking number and give it to your family and friends so that they can find out when you will be going to court. It is also helpful to get the telephone number to the court, police department, and/or booking facility to your family and/or friends. This will save time that will otherwise be spent on inmate search engines and looking for central booking sites for the number to a central booking facility.
2) EAT SOME FOOD BEFORE SURRENDERING…
If you have been charged with a crime and a Police Officer informs you that you have to surrender yourself, the last thing you are going to be worried about is eating. In fact, most people will lose their appetites. This is a serious mistake. Just like the people that push the propaganda about how breakfast is the most important meal of the day, the meal you eat prior to getting arrested will often be quite important. In some cases, you may not have access to food after being arrested for quite some time. In other situations, you may get access to something that others are calling food, but that you would rather not eat. Either way, what you eat before arrest will have a great impact on your jail experience for the first couple of hours or even the first day or two. Avoid spicy foods and/or foods that do not agree with you. If you are getting arrested, it is not the time to go eat spicy Indian food or Mexican food, especially if those items do not agree with you. You know what is worse than having your stomach turning in knots? Having to sit on the toilet with 10 or 20 strangers in an open room while they become increasingly angry about your inability to stop your meal from revisiting you in a holding cell.
3) ARRANGE TO BE ABLE TO USE A PHONE
You can not assume you will have access to a phone. While you may wish to avoid people, sometimes, when you have been arrested, there is a pay phone in a cell. In such cases, it is helpful to have a phone card that allows you to call a 1800 number instead of using coins. Do not assume that there will be a phone. Do not assume that if there is a phone, you will be able to use quarters or other change. Often, the phone is full or broken. Your best way of possibly being able to make calls is to bring some change like a roll of quarters (which may be taken from you) and a prepaid phone card. Also be aware that you may be put under duress because you have a phone card and people may ask you to use it. This can be very uncomfortable and in some cases dangerous. Getting a couple in small denominations is helpful.
4) WEAR COMFORTABLE CLOTHING
This is where knowing you are getting arrested before it happens can really be useful. You may have to sit in your clothing for several days. You also don’t know what you are going to encounter as far as temperature and conditions. You may find yourself in a freezing room in the summer or in a hot room in the winter. You may have to sleep on a floor or hard bench, or spending long periods of time sitting or laying on either. You may want to dress in layers. A top shirt or layer may double as a pillow or ground cloth. Make sure your shoes are comfortable. Also make sure that you look as nice as you can. After all, at some point you will see a Judge who does not know you and will be making serious decisions about your life and freedom. You may want to look the best you can. You will also want to balance that with the fact that you may not see that Judge for a day or two and you will be in the same clothes.
5) SECURE YOUR VALUABLES
Jail is not the time to wear your fancy watch or to show off. Often, the police will take your stuff for safe keeping. If you do have a situation where they take items from you, try to make sure they are vouchered and that you get a receipt. However, the best advice is, leave your valuables at home.
5) FIND AN ATTORNEY
If it is possible and you can afford one, you should hire an attorney before speaking to the police. You have the right to remain silent. It is not just a right, it is a really good idea. Despite your inner voice telling you that you have nothing to hide, you should not speak to anyone unless you have an attorney present. Speak to friends and family and ask for referrals for an attorney. Attorneys who work on other types of matters for you are also a great source of referrals for a criminal attorney. Just because your lawyer is a family lawyer, divorce attorney, immigration lawyer or personal injury lawyer does not mean that he or she does not know a good criminal lawyer! Call people you trust and have them help you find an attorney.