Unfortunately, you were recently arrested and charged with a crime. Fortunately, you were released on bail. While you’re glad you’re not in jail right now, you’re understandably nervous about the outcome of your case.
While you wait for your sentencing, you need to prepare for your court appearance. The more prepared you are, the better the trial will go—and, hopefully, the better result you’ll get.
1. Find a Lawyer
Representing yourself in court typically isn’t a great idea. A good lawyer has likely handled dozens of cases similar to yours. He or she knows what evidence and witnesses you need to portray a successful argument. Plus, a lawyer has the experience and expertise to help you obtain a successful outcome for your case.
Many people avoid finding a lawyer because they worry about the cost. However, there are ways to find an affordable lawyer. You could visit a legal aid society that connects low-income people with free legal services. Alternatively, you could look for a lawyer who is willing to represent you on a contingency basis. This means that the lawyer won’t charge you anything unless they win your case.
In the ’90s TV show “Twin Peaks,” one of the main characters, Ben Horne, is arrested on suspicion of murdering a girl in the town. Ben is held in the county jail for over 24 hours without being charged. When his lawyer arrives, he tells the sheriff that since 24 hours have passed, Ben must either be charged or released.
The sheriff promptly charges Ben-who is actually innocent-with murder and holds him in the cell until the true culprit is caught several days later.
This storyline repeats itself in countless procedural cop shows and legal dramas. In shows like “Law and Order” and “NCIS,” a character is often arrested on suspicion of committing a crime and is held for 24 hours or more without being charged and without having a bail amount set.
Can this situation actually happen to you? If you’re held for 24 hours without being charged, is the jail really required to let you go?
When a warrant has been issued for your arrest, it can be a startling ordeal. Perhaps you’ve dealt with such a situation before, or perhaps you’re entirely new to the process. Either way, you may be thinking about turning yourself in.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to turn yourself in. You can wait until the authorities come to arrest you, but the decision is entirely up to you. Should you decide to turn yourself in, consider the following tips before you do.
If you have you found yourself in trouble with the law for the first time, you may feel bewildered, frightened, and desperate to get out of jail. Depending on the seriousness of the crime you’ve allegedly committed, you may be required to post bail before you’re able to go home.
Bail amounts vary, but they can run into hundreds of thousands of dollars for serious criminal charges. Whatever the amount, if you can’t afford to pay it, then you’ll be stuck in jail until your bail is paid or you face trial in court.
If you can’t afford bail, then you may need to seek out the service of a bail bondsman. You may know a little about this subject, most of which may have been garnered from TV shows or movies, or you may know next to nothing, especially if this is your first brush with the law.
With the popularity of prison dramas and procedural cop shows, many legal terms have become common usage. However, the nature of fiction means that many of these terms are used in a general or incorrect way that can lead to confusion about their definitions in real life situations.
In this blog, we cover three sets of common legal terms that are often used interchangeably even though they aren’t synonymous.