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What to do when a friend is arrested on a criminal charge in Maryland or Virginia

We’ll present a few situations where an arrested friend reaches out to you, and what you can do when a problem like this comes up.

You get a call from jail asking for help

  1. Get the contact information from the jail he’s in
    1. Write it down, people will need this
  2. Ask him what he needs from you
    1. Call a lawyer
    2. Get a bail bondsman on the case
    3. Call his family, significant other…only if he asks you to
  3. After you get off the phone
    1. Do what he asks you to

Another possibility: you might be with him when the arrest happens

  1. Keep calm and say nothing, but:
    1. You can tell your friend to call you from jail
      1. You’ll be his legs outside to do what he needs
  2. Take note of the officer’s name, and the location where the arrest happened
    1. Your friend will be taken to the nearest police station for processing
      1. Do a quick search to find out where that is
      2. You could also ask one of the officers, but be polite about it
  3. When your friend calls you, do what he asks

This can be tricky, because you might have been there when the alleged crime took place. The police will probably ask YOU to come down to the station and answer questions. You’re going to need a lawyer, too. Be sure to say, respectfully, that you are willing to answer questions when you have a lawyer present. Then set an appointment with the officer to meet and discuss the events.

Unless you are a suspect in the crime and being arrested, they will not read you your Miranda Rights. Anything you say prior to answering questions with a lawyer present will be something the officer makes notes about. Those notes could be admissible as evidence. This is why you’re going to need to talk to his lawyer before you talk to the police; you might be an important witness for the defense.

One of the most difficult situations is finding out from other people that your friend has been arrested. Of course, you want to help out, but you don’t even know where he is.

  1. Check or in Maryland
    1. Call the facility and ask if you can meet with your friend during visiting hours
  2. If they allow you to come in during visiting hours
      1. Ask him what needs to be done
        1. Does he have a lawyer?
          1. If so, contact the attorney
          2. If not, find him one, unless a public attorney has already been assigned to him
        2. Does he want his family informed?
        3. Has he spoken to a bail bondsman if bail has been set?
          1. Does he have resources to meet bail himself?
          2. Does he need financial help?
      2. DO NOT
        1. Ask about the charges or circumstances
          1. He’s been read his Miranda Rights, and visits are likely to be recorded
            1. Do not let him incriminate himself
      3. Do contact his lawyer
        1. Ask what you can do for your friend in this situation
        2. Offer to be a character witness if needed

The last scenario we want to talk about is what to do if you’re arrested with him. This is tough, because you have to help yourself FIRST. This doesn’t mean you don’t care about your friend, but you can’t do anything for him unless your situation is secure. We discuss being arrested on our blog Be sure to check it out, so you know what might happen.

Do your best. This is going to be rough, no matter which of these situations you’re in, but your friend will appreciate you for it later. We are here to help you if you need bail bonds services, or someone to point you in the right direction, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.