Someone you love has been accused of a crime.
You feel blindsided.
They can always count on you but here you are completely unprepared!
It makes you feel absolutely helpless.
You are not alone.
Even children are no stranger to the criminal justice system these days. A recent Rutgers University study revealed that 1 in 28 children in the US has an incarcerated parent, that’s ONE KID IN EVERY CLASSROOM!
While knowing you’re not alone doesn’t make this go away, it does give you the chance to look at your own personal power in the situation.
A lot of things are out of your control, it’s true. So focus on the things you can control and you’ll help your accused loved one do the same.
Here are three things you can do immediately that are completely within your control:
TAKE STOCK OF YOUR EMOTIONS
The world is a small place, isn’t it?
Whether you’re in Fresno or a smaller surrounding town like Selma, Reedley, Madera, Firebaugh, Fowler, Kingsburg, Hanford, or Tulare you may immediately fear judgment. You may even worry that your family’s reputation will suffer if someone involved in the process knows your family member or if the record is made public.
Shift your focus to your own feelings before taking any other action. This includes searching the web for criminal lawyers, domestic violence lawyers, theft lawyers or any other representation!
Search your own feelings first. Do you feel concerned, sad, betrayed, or in denial? Your emotional honesty will help whether you are there at the initial meeting with an attorney or not.
By staying levelheaded, you’ll be able to discourage your loved one from making any rash decisions themselves.
SET HEALTHY BOUNDARIES SO YOU CAN HELP
With emotions so high, every move you make likely feels very high stakes.
Especially if you’re the accused person’s main source of emotional support. The process from accusation to a filed case (if it happens at all) could be lengthy and full of ups and downs.
One way to set healthy boundaries is to separate your personal relationship from the accusations against your loved one. Be there for emotional support but don’t get overly involved in the legalities of the accusations.
By setting this boundary, you also protect them from any possibility of you later being subpoenaed to testify against them! You may or may not have thought of this as you searched for Fresno DUI lawyers, juvenile law attorneys in Fresno, or other related defense attorneys.
That’s because one of the most common misconceptions is that as long as you’re in an attorney’s office, the information given is confidential, classified as privileged information.
This is true for the attorney and client relationship ONLY, and when they are alone. It does not protect any member of the family also in the room. The only exception to this is if you are the person’s spouse.
I always tell my clients this before beginning because 75% – 80% have family there for support.
Consider your loved one first when deciding whether to be in attendance during the meeting.
HELP YOUR LOVED ONE FIND REPRESENTATION RIGHT AWAY
With a criminal accusation against them, your loved one is now under a microscope, so help them to refrain from emotionally charged and impulsive decisions.
A common emotional decision is waiting to hire an attorney until the case is filed.
But by waiting to hire a lawyer, they miss the chance to minimize the damage or even avoid the criminal justice system altogether! The second your loved one is accused or arrested (or you see it coming), Proper Defense might be able to help you from ever having a case filed in the first place!
This includes helping your loved one through the initial investigation, including the interrogation. Your loved one talking to the police (or refusing to) due to innocence may hurt their chances in irreparable ways.
With an attorney who understands the process, your loved one will benefit from every right they’re entitled to.
For DUIs, for instance, your loved one has 10 days to request a DMV hearing. This hearing may help them avoid or reduce license suspension or restrictions. If nothing else, it gives the attorney the information and/or evidence they need to make a beneficial offer to the District Attorney right away.
This kind of representation at Proper Defense, during the pre-filing process, is like INSURANCE. The fees are very reduced compared to court cases and if charges are formally filed and a court date assigned, the amount you’ve paid goes toward this representation.
See other information about the pre-filing process from our ‘Procative Approach’ page.
You’re already on the right track by searching for a criminal defense attorney, whether for a domestic violence defense attorney, Fresno DUI attorney, or other criminal defense lawyers.
If your loved one has been accused of a crime and you need a judgment-free zone, contact Proper Defense Law Corporation today for a free consultation at (559) 825-3800 or schedule an appointment online on my ‘Contact Us’ page. It gets better with Proper Defense, I promise.