FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: Help I've Been Arrested?

The Public Defender’s Office is here to help you.

If you have been arrested and charged with a crime, the police must, in most cases,  bring you to court within 48 hours.  If charges are not filed against you within 48 hours, you can expect to be released from custody, unless you have something else, like warrants, that will keep you in.  If you are reading this website, we assume you are no longer in jail and you will want to know how to contact an attorney and what to expect in court.  For more information click "Getting a lawyer"; or click "What's going to happen to me in Court?"

If you are reading this website because your friend or family member is in jail, and you are trying to get helpful information, the first thing you should tell your friend or family member is: “While you are in jail, it is important not to discuss the facts of your case with anyone—not the police, not other inmates—don’t even talk to your friends or family over the phone about the facts of the case.  (It is usually okay to tell people your booking number and what you are charged with.)  Please wait until you meet your lawyer to talk about the facts of your case because only conversations between you and your lawyer are protected by attorney-client privilege and are confidential, and only your lawyer will be able to give you accurate, reliable advice about how to proceed with your case.”

In most cases, when a person is arrested, bail is set, giving the arrested person--the arrestee--an opportunity to get out of jail pending the court appearance.  In many misdemeanors, the arrestee will be released without posting bail on a written “promise to appear.” In cases where bail has not been set, or where the arrestee doesn’t have enough money to post the bail, the arrestee is usually brought to court within 48 hours.

For more information on how to contact a lawyer in the Public Defender’s Office and related topics, click "Getting a lawyer"; or click "What's going to happen to me in Court?"

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