When You Get a Call from Someone Who’s Been Arrested

We’ve all seen it on TV — a person is arrested and says “I want to call my lawyer.” But what do you do when you are the lawyer on the other side of that call? Arrested people often call the only attorney they know, which may be their business counsel, estate planner, or divorce attorney. What do you say when you haven’t cracked a criminal law book since law school?

First, tell the caller to be calm and — most importantly — not to say anything to anyone without counsel present.  Then you can simply ask where he or she is being held and whether there is anyone you can contact (e.g., a family member or business partner). Depending on the circumstances, you may want to ask if there is anything that needs immediate attention and who to contact, for example to move the car,  pick up the kids, feed pets, or check on an elderly parent. You also may ask whether you should contact someone to arrange bail.

Never ask the caller about the facts of the case or witnesses — you can’t be sure who’s listening to the call.

If you are planning to handle the case, get to the jail as soon as possible. If criminal law is not your area, refer the caller to a criminal defense attorney immediately and make sure he or she understands that you will not be handling the matter.

For comprehensive coverage of criminal law and procedure, see California Criminal Law Procedure and Practice (Cal CEB Annual).

© The Regents of the University of California, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

 

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© The Regents of the University of California, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

2 thoughts on “When You Get a Call from Someone Who’s Been Arrested

  1. Pingback: Lineup Your Defense | CEB Blog - Your Partner In Practice

  2. Pingback: Silence: the Valuable Right that Protects Your Client | CEBblog™

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