When a family member is arrested, there is often a period of concern and worry because the family member cannot be reached. Sometimes the family member is deprived of the ability to use a telephone during their initial period of incarceration. A lawyer has greater access to see persons incarcerated, because the 6th Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees the right to be represented by counsel. The following are some obstacles that a person has while initially incarcerated.
- The family may have concerns about the general health and well being of the incarcerated family member. This is especially true when the family member has a physical or mental health issue and needs to receive proper medication. In many instances jails deny persons incarcerated proper medical care and proper medication. The intervention of a lawyer sometimes can correct this situation.
- The family may have concerns that the incarcerated family member’s rights are not being protected. Often after an arrest a police agency will attempt to obtain a statement from the person arrested concerning what allegedly occurred. An individual who speaks to the police, especially without consulting with a lawyer, is at a great disadvantage. Police officers are trained at gathering evidence, which includes obtaining statements that are or seem to be incriminating. Police officers also sometimes try to obtain consent to perform searches of property. Sometimes the consent given can undermine the case or defense. Police are not supposed to question a Defendant that it knows is represented by a lawyer.
- In some instances the family member owns a business, and needs to communicate information to the family so that the business can be maintained. It may be information such as where keys are located, the combination to a safe, a telephone number to an employee, etc. The lawyer can often go into the jail and obtain this information. Sometimes a power of attorney is necessary, which a lawyer can draft and provide to his client for signature.
- A lawyer for State court proceedings in Michigan is not provided with a lawyer at their arraignment. At arraignment the Judge or Magistrate decides on the amount and conditions of bond. The best person to make arguments why the loved one is not a flight risk, is not a danger to the community, and deserves the lowest possible bond is a lawyer. The best way for the lawyer to be prepared is to meet the client beforehand. For persons with immigration issues, sometimes it is important to obtain and post a bond as soon as possible, before a detainer is set in place.
- Every Defendant deserves great representation. Unfortunately, court appointed lawyers are often reluctant to visit clients in jail. The reason for it is the lack of pay. For a case to be properly prepared and defended a working relationship needs to exist between the Defendant and his lawyer. Phone calls are recorded in jails and correctional facilities, and there is always a concern that a client may be overheard by others while discussing his or her case. The only way to guarantee effective, helpful communication is for the lawyer to visit his or her client in jail.
When a family member is arrested, it is a time in life for a family to come together. Hoping that everything will work out, without being proactive, is not the right answer.
Lawyers can be retained just for jail visits, or can be retained for a more extensive and full representation. It is up to you to decide the degree for which you need a lawyer’s help.
When a loved one is arrested, it is highly recommended that you retain attorney Daniel Hilf of the law firm of Hilf & Hilf, PLC. He provides effective, comprehensive legal representation for all criminal and immigration related issues.