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.



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.



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.



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.



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.


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.



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.



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Cook County Inmate Search Information

Are you looking to find someone arrested in Chicago?  Are you looking to find someone arrested in Cook County?

If so, then the Cook County Sheriff’s Office has resources that may be useful in your Cook County inmate search.  The Cook County Inmate Lookup system/Cook County Inmate finder is located on the Sheriff’s website.  The Cook County Sheriffs inmate search is a good start for someone trying to find someone arrested in Chicago.  While it is limited to inmates in Cook County rather than providing an inmate search in Illinois Prisons in all counties, the Cook County Sheriff inmate search system is a great resource.



There are several ways to find an Inmate in Cook County.  You can search for the Inmate by Last Name on the Cook County Sheriff’s site.  You can also find a prisoner in Cook County by searching with a Booking Number.  If you are going to search for an Inmate using the Booking Number, make sure that you use a hyphen in the Booking Number.  For example, 2000–0043394 is a typical booking number format for a Cook County Inmate   If you do not use the hyphen, you may not find the person that you are looking for.  Employees at the Cook County Jail do not use the Sheriff’s website, but rather, have access to a jail management system program.   Using the Sheriff’s site, you can conduct a free cook county inmate search.

CLICK HERE to conduct a Cook County Inmate Search – Search for Inmate Information and find people at the Cook County Jail.

The Jail in Cook County is run by the Cook County Sheriff’s Department of Corrections which is located at 2700 S. California Avenue, Chicago, IL 60608.  The telephone number is 773 674 5201.

CLICK HERE for the Cook County Sheriff’s Office Website

According to the Sheriff’s site, the visitation policies for visiting inmates in Cook County Jail have recently changed.  You should consult the Sheriff’s website for more information or call the  Visitor Information Center at 773.674.5225.  There is now a background check that must be performed before you can visit an inmate!  Children under 17 will not be able to visit an Inmate housed in Cook County.  

What are the requirements for visiting an Inmate in Cook County?

You must fill out an application and be approved by the Department of Corrections to visit an Inmate.

Can a minor visit an Inmate in Cook County Jail?

Children under 17 will not be able to visit an Inmate housed in Cook County unless accompanied by a Parent or Guardian.

Can a person who is on probation visit an Inmate?

Persons who have been on parole or probation for less than a year since serving a jail sentence will also be denied visits and/or access to inmates.

Can I visit an Inmate in Cook County if I am on House Arrest?

No, Persons who are on house arrest will also be denied visits and/or access to inmates.

Can I visit an Inmate in Cook County if I am on On Bond and waiting for a court date?

No, Persons who are on On Bond and waiting for a court date will also be denied visits and/or access to inmates.

CLICK HERE for Inmate Visitation Information in Cook County

CLICK HERE for Information of Visiting Inmates in Chicago



If you are looking for information regarding your next court date in Cook County Circuit Court or for any other court related information, you can contact the Cook County Circuit Court Criminal Division at (773) 674-3147 or
(773) 674-3140

CLICK HERE to go to the Cook County Circuit Court – Criminal Division



Are you looking to find out if someone has a warrant?  The Cook County Sheriff’s Office provides online information regarding Criminal Warrants and online Child Support Warrant information so that you can find out if someone in Chicago has a warrant.

CLICK HERE to search for Criminal Warrants In Cook County

CLICK HERE to search for Criminal Warrants In Cook County




The Chicago Bar Association Web Site has information for individuals who have been arrested in Chicago as well as resources for the families of those who have been arrested.

CLICK HERE to view WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE ARRESTED IN COOK COUNTY by the Chicago Bar Association.

If You are looking for a Lawyer you can call the Lawyer Referral Service of The Chicago Bar Association at (312)554-2001

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