How Do I Hire a Lawyer For My Family Member?
If a family member is arrested, you may be scrambling to figure out what to do. You can feel powerless in this situation, desperately trying to help.
While you, as a family member cannot hire a lawyer on your own, you can do a lot to start that process and help out your family member. Finding a lawyer from inside jail is difficult, given the lack of communication available. You will not be able to, on your own, hire a lawyer for your family member. Hiring a lawyer is a personal decision that can only be made by the Client. It is their right to hire or refuse to hire whomever they’d like. You can do the initial research, talk to local lawyers, and otherwise help make things easier. You will want to provide as much information as you can, such as:
- What Court?
- Each County or City in Virginia has their own court system. This includes three courts – the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, the General District Court, and the Circuit Court
- It is not uncommon in Northern Virginia for some charges to be Federal charges. These are charged in the U.S District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.
- What is the Charge?
- This will be on a warrant. If you have your family member’s paper work (such as warrants) the exact charge may be found by a code section (commonly starting with 18.2-)
- Background information about your Family Member
- This includes their family status, their work situation, any criminal history, any personal obligations. This information is useful for any Bond Motions that may need to be filed.
If you don’t know all of this – that’s OK. Whatever lawyer you hire can figure much of this out as well. You should be prepared to ask some questions: What is the process like going forward? Does the lawyer have any plan to file a Bond Motion if necessary? What kind of penalties might your family member be facing?
Unless you are calling a lawyer immediately after your family member was arrested, you should know if your family member is being held, or has been released on Bond. This initial determination is made within a few hours of arrest typically, thought it may take longer depending on access to a Magistrate.
If your family member is arrested and released on Bond by the Magistrate, they will return home to you. While this is great, they may also have conditions placed on them and have responsibilities and obligations to adhere to in order to until their case is resolved. This may include attending certain classes or treatment, and travel limitations. If your family member is being held, the lawyers you talk to should have a plan for if an how they plan to file a Bond Motion. This is often this first thing done in a case where the client is incarcerated pending trial.
When you are searching for a criminal defense attorney for someone else, it is important that you understand that the attorney-client relationship does not extend to you. Even if you are the one paying. Communications between you and your loved one’s attorney are not protected by attorney-client privilege. There are going to be certain conversations and facts that you cannot be privy to. But that does not mean you should be ignored or left entirely in the dark. Representing someone charged with a crime is a collaborative process. A lawyer should be prepared for every legal issue, but should also be a resource to the client and their family members. You and your family will be dealing with a lot of stress and anxiety during this process, and the lawyer you hire should help minimize that stress, not add to it. A client’s lawyer and their family are equally part of their support network.
Another thing to consider is that phone calls into jails are recorded and are not confidential. While it is tempting, conversations about the case itself should be left to confidential attorney calls.
If your family member is granted Secured Bond or “cash bond” this amount can be paid in full to the Court, and will be returned at the conclusion of the case if your family member appears at their court dates. Alternatively, Bondsmen can post full amount to the Court. However, you will pay them a fee (typically 10%), which is non-refundable.
How We Can Help You Fight For Your Family
On our end, we frequently get calls from family members. We will listen to what they know, which depending on the case, may be a whole lot, or not much. We can then do some limited independent research to figure out what is going on with your family member – their charges and upcoming court dates. This information is typically enough for us to be able to give you a price quote, and explain what the process will look like for you and your family member.
After taking an initial call from a concerned family member we will then either talk to the Client themselves, by whatever means are available where they are held, or the family members will talk to the Client to discuss our services privately, and then we will talk directly with Client. Whatever the exact process, it is always the Client’s decision. If they agree to hire us, then we can consider ourselves retained and start working on their case.
Once we are retained, we will immediately file a Notice of Appearance, which tells the Court that we are in the Case. We then typically try to obtain some initial discovery – information about the case. This is helpful in requesting Bond, so that we know what the issues are, and can be prepared to respond to any objections.
If your family member is arrested and charged with a crime, you are a valuable resource to them. You can do a lot to help them, including contacting attorneys on their behalf. You want an attorney who is qualified, prepared and attentive. Our Criminal Defense Attorneys are experienced in working with family members – Spouses, Parents, Children and Siblings, and we know how important it is to maintain communication. In a situation like this, the attorney you hire is likely going to be the only person in this process who is attentive to the concerns of you and your family. You should never feel like your phone calls and questions are a burden on your attorney. We are privileged to be able to represent individuals throughout Northern Virginia for any criminal charge.