Most families never have to deal with this issue. When you get that call from a son, daughter, husband, wife or friend in jail, many people do not know what to do. When a person gets arrested, they are supposed to be allowed a phone call. Most of the time it is to a relative.
Who should you call next?
If there is a reasonable bail bond, call a bondsman. If the bond is huge or no bond has been set, call a lawyer immediately.
There are two ways to post a bail bond. If you have the money, you can go to the jail and “post bond” by putting up the money. Most people use a bondsman. A bondsman charges a 10% fee, called a premium, to post the bond. If the bond has been set high many people make the mistake of posting bond without trying to get the amount reduced. For example, if the bond is $100,000 and the family posts bond with a bondsman, they can end up spending $10,000 with the bondsman and then end up with no money for a good criminal defense lawyer. If they go to the lawyer first, the lawyer may be able to get the bond reduced and save them a fortune. As a Sarasota criminal defense lawyer, all too often I see families spend everything they have on bail bond. The people in jail panic and beg their relatives to “get me out”. A lot of families do not think ahead. Bond is only temporary and secures release until the case is concluded. An experienced criminal defense attorney can make a huge difference in the long run. The money is better spent on getting good solid legal advice and winning the case.
I am not saying not to post bond, I am just saying that the lawyer may save you a bundle in “premium” which in the long run frees up money for a successful criminal defense.
Finding the best criminal defense lawyer in Sarasota or Bradenton is a challenge. You cannot rely on advertising alone. Some lawyers may be great at handling tickets or a DUI cases, but have little or no experience with serious charges like sexual battery, child pornography or trafficking in Fentanyl. The type of lawyer you need depends on the type of crime your loved one is charged with. You would not hire a foot doctor for a heart problem, so why would you hire a ticket lawyer for something really serious. Look at the lawyer’s real experience, not just the so called ratings or reviews. Look for education and the number of years he or she has actually tried cases. Experience really does count. It is a lot like hiring a good mechanic. You pay for the guy that knows what screw to turn and how far to turn it before it breaks.
Ask the lawyer if he or she is going to handle the case personally. Some lawyers, like the ones you see on TV, are great at signing up business, and then shuffle it off on an assistant to handle.