What do I do if a loved one is arrested in South Florida?

a man stands in a dimly lit room with handcuffed hands in front of him after being arrested in Fort Lauderdale in South FloridaHaving a loved one get arrested for a criminal allegation in South Florida is not easy.

It’s an emotional and difficult time. That’s why I’ve broken it down to 5 simple steps you can take to offer your loved one the best help possible.  

  1. Call a criminal defense attorney so that they can help you every step of the way. The right attorney has a team of paralegals, bondsman, investigators, expert witnesses, therapists, and resources you need to help you and ensure your loved one has the best defense possible. 
  2. Get the person out of jail. This can be done either by paying the full bond amount at the jail, or by calling a bail bondsman and paying usually about 10% of the total bond amount for the bail bondsman to bail your loved one out of jail.  If you pay the full bond to the jail, that money will either be returned to you when the case is over, or it will be transferred to pay for court costs.  The money you pay to a bail bondsman, you don’t get back -- that cost is their fee for bonding the person out of jail.  
  3. Once your loved one is out of jail, make sure he/she writes down very specific details about what happened. Criminal cases can take anywhere from 6 to 18 months depending on the seriousness of the case.  Over time, memories can fade and it’s important to put everything you remember into writing.  The police officers are trained to write their reports with very specific details to help them remember months later at a deposition, motion or trial.  You should do the same.
  4. Gather a list of any potential witnesses and evidence – Oftentimes, police officers don’t conduct a full and complete investigation.  Instead of trying to find out the truth of what happened, they will try to make a quick arrest to close the case.  It’s essential to immediately speak to defense witnesses, take pictures of the scene, request 911 calls and prepare for your defense.  
  5. Help your loved ones get back to their normal life – After being arrested, it’s very important for a person to resume their normal daily life - work, school, or taking care of family. 

If you are looking for more information and more detailed steps, please check out our FREE BOOKLET that explains what to do when a loved one is arrested and how to survive a Florida arrest

If you’d like to learn more about the criminal justice system in Florida and what the process typically looks like for someone arrested - check out this blog on the typical journey a criminal case will take in South Florida.

RELATED: How do I choose the right criminal defense attorney?

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