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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.