When someone is arrested, the immediate steps taken can significantly influence the outcome. One of the most critical actions for anyone accused of a crime is securing competent legal representation. Understanding this helps protect the arrested individual’s legal rights and lays the foundation for an effective defense strategy.

At Mitkevicius Law, we want to guide you through the process if a loved one reached out about securing an experienced, local Pensacola defense attorney after being arrested and how to navigate this stressful time.

Steps to Take After a Loved One’s Arrest

Finding out that a loved one has been arrested is a distressing experience. However, taking action is more important than passing judgment in this critical moment. Instead, getting them qualified legal help is essential.

Everyone has the right to an attorney; this is more than a formality. It’s a fundamental protection. Whether hiring a private lawyer or having one appointed, the right to an attorney ensures the accused has professional guidance and someone advocating for them in a complex and unforgiving legal system.

Here are the steps you can take to help your loved one get a lawyer:

Remain Calm & Offer Support

It’s natural to feel panicked or upset upon hearing the news of a loved one’s arrest. However, it’s essential to try to remain calm and composed. Your loved one will likely look to you for support and guidance during this challenging time.

Gather Basic Info

While it’s important to act fast, gather all the relevant information about the arrest. This will help an attorney better understand the situation and formulate an effective defense strategy. It will also help locate your loved one and make their release go as smoothly as possible.

Try to obtain details such as:

  • The date, time, and location of the arrest.
  • The specific charges your loved one is facing.
  • The name of the law enforcement agency involved.
  • Where your loved one is being held or where they are being taken
  • Any other individuals present at the time of the arrest.
  • Whether your loved one was read their Miranda Rights

Document Everything

Write down what you can and keep a record of any conversations or interactions you have related to the arrest. This includes phone calls with your loved one, discussions with law enforcement if they contact you, and any paperwork you receive. Having thorough documentation can be invaluable for your loved one’s defense.

Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer

One of the most crucial actions you can take is to reach out to a qualified criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Time is of the essence, so don’t delay seeking legal representation. A skilled attorney can provide invaluable guidance for your loved one throughout the legal process.

Support Your Loved One

While taking proactive steps to secure legal representation is essential, don’t forget to provide emotional support to your loved one. Reassure them that you are there for them and will do everything you can to help them through this challenging time.

Your Loved One’s Rights After Being Arrested

The Constitution provides specific protections for individuals suspected of or accused of a crime. Your friends and family must understand these protections to ensure they are not infringed fully.

Your Loved One’s Miranda Rights

When your loved one is arrested in Florida, they are entitled to the following, commonly known as Miranda Rights:

  • The right to remain silent because anything said can be used against them.
  • The right to consult with and be represented by an attorney before being asked any questions.
  • The right to have an attorney appointed by the state if they can’t afford one.
  • The right to stop answering questions at any time.

If your loved one is not informed of these rights when arrested, any statements made to the police during questioning may not be admissible as evidence against them. Additionally, your family member has the right to know the names and badge numbers of the police they’ve interacted with and the crimes they’ve been charged with.

If you suspect your loved one’s rights have been violated, speaking with an attorney is essential. Proof of violations can lead to the dismissal of evidence or charges. Additionally, violations may give your loved one the right to bring a civil claim for damages against a police officer or government agency.

Their Right to a Phone Call

After being arrested in Florida, individuals typically have the right to make at least one phone call. This is likely how you learned about your loved one’s situation, as it allows them to notify a friend, family member, or attorney of their arrest.

While the timing of the call may vary, individuals can generally make this call shortly after being booked. They can speak to an attorney during this call and, if needed, request additional calls. However, individuals should use this call wisely to seek assistance if circumstances permit.

How to Locate an Arrested Loved One

You can usually locate someone in jail by contacting the local law enforcement agency or detention facility where they are being held. Provide them with the individual’s full name and any other relevant identifying information to assist in locating them.

The Pensacola Police Department does not have a jail. All people charged with crimes are taken to the Escambia County Jail at 3080 N. Pace Blvd.

Inmates can be found via Escambia County Inmate Lookup or by calling 850-436-9830. The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office can be reached at 850-436-9630.

Hiring a Defense Lawyer for a Loved One

In Pensacola, Florida, you can find a criminal defense lawyer through various channels, such as online searches, local directories, recommendations from friends or family, or referral services provided by bar associations.

Most importantly, look for a lawyer with experience in charges commonly seen in the area and prior success in the specific criminal charges filed against your loved one, such as DUI, drug possession, domestic violence, or assault.

What Question Should I Ask?

When speaking with potential lawyers for a loved one, ask about their experience with similar cases, their approach to cases like your loved ones, their fee structure, and their availability to promptly handle your loved one’s case. It’s also important to inquire about how they plan to communicate with you and the individual throughout the legal process.

Should My Loved One Use a Public Defender?

Your loved one may be eligible to use a Pensacola public defender if they cannot afford a private attorney. Public defenders are court-appointed attorneys who provide legal representation based on financial need.

While they may have heavy caseloads, public defenders provide quality representation for individuals facing criminal charges. But it’s essential to consider the level of personalized attention available with a public defender compared to a private defense attorney and if they can realistically protect your loved one’s best interests.

How Does an Attorney Meet with the Accused?

Once hired, a criminal defense lawyer should be able to visit the individual in jail to discuss the case, advise them on their rights, and start building a defense strategy. However, there may be limitations or restrictions depending on the specific circumstances and policies of the detention facility in Pensacola.

Can an Attorney Get My Loved One Out of Jail?

A lawyer can advocate for your loved one’s release by arguing for reduced bail or requesting a release at subsequent hearings. They can also help navigate the bail process or work with a bail bondsman if bail has been set for serious offenses, such as violent acts, sex crimes, and other felony charges.

What if My Loved One Has Mental Health Issues, Needs Medical Care, or Requires Medication?

If your loved one has mental health issues, physical illnesses, or disabilities, it’s essential to advocate for their well-being while they are in custody. Inform the arresting officers and detention facility about their condition, provide necessary documentation, and request appropriate accommodations. Additionally, involving a lawyer can help facilitate the process by advocating for your loved one’s rights and ensuring they receive proper treatment.

What if I Suspect My Loved One is Being Mistreated in Custody?

If you suspect that your loved one is being mistreated or abused while in custody for any charge, it’s important to take prompt action. You should discuss the matter with a lawyer, who may advise filing a complaint directly with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office or the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office, depending on where your loved one is being held. You can also contact the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to report misconduct or mistreatment.

Additionally, if your loved one has mental health issues or disabilities, you can reach out to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in Florida for assistance. It’s crucial to document any instances of mistreatment or abuse and take steps to address them to ensure your loved one’s safety.

A Pensacola Defense Lawyer is Ready to Help

If you’re searching for legal representation for a loved one, it’s crucial to fast. At Mitkevicius Law, PLLC, we understand the importance of having experienced lawyers on your side during challenging times and what it takes to get the best possible outcome.

Our Pensacola legal team is here, no matter what your loved one is facing. We have considerable experience and success with cases like yours. We encourage you to review our past cases and client reviews, then contact us at 850-361-2142 for a free and confidential consultation about how we can fight for your loved one in their time of need.

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