Nobody expects personal legal problems. Unfortunately, good people can and do experience difficult legal circumstances at the courthouse every day. What if you or a loved-one gets charged with a crime? What are your constitutional rights? This article examines those questions.
Criminal charges turn a person’s life upside down. The State is trying to take away your freedom and liberty. Nobody anticipates being in this life-changing situation. If and when it was to happen though, you must immediately take appropriate defensive action. The sooner, the better. Apparently, the first order of business is getting out of jail -- preferably as soon as possible.
Bonding out of jail begins the process of protecting personal rights. If jailed, contact a family member or a close friend about arranging a bail bond. Your “one phone call” generally gets made by using a phone card received when being booked into jail. Bail gets arranged by contacting a bail bondsman. Have your loved one contact a bail bondsman.
For a fee, the bail bondsman will “post” your bond. This allows you to walk out of jail. By posting bail, you promise to return for all court proceedings on the case. You’ll need money of course to pay the bail bondsman. You’ll also need a person having a steady a job, or a person who owns the property, who will sign a contract with the bail bondsman guaranteeing payment of the bond should you never return for court. The bond fee (known as a “premium”) is generally 10% of the total bond amount; for example, a $5000 bond requires a $500 premium. In exchange for the $500 premium, the bail bondsman posts the entire $5000 with the court clerk. When you have honored your court obligations, and the case concludes, the bondsman gets the $5000 back.
The bail bondsman will let you know your court date. It is vitally important you arrive on time for court every single court date. By missing court or being late for court can mean forfeiting your bail bond and being put back in jail. Avoid problems by always being on time for court.
After bonding out of jail, the next step is hiring a lawyer. You should hire a lawyer as soon as possible after bonding out of jail. You want a lawyer working on details immediately, or at least as quickly as possible. If you cannot afford fees quoted by private lawyers, record the various quoted fees and the name of the lawyer providing the fee quote. In connection with the “right to remain silent” afforded by the familiar “Miranda Warning, we’ve all heard the phrase:
“You have the right to an attorney, and if you cannot afford an attorney one will be provided for you.”
Note however if you have bonded out of jail – which most people do – the fact that you had the financial ability to pay for a bail bond has a direct impact on whether the court provides you a lawyer at no cost. Although not the only factor considered by the court, the actual reality is that the significant majority of persons free on bail bond are considered financially capable of hiring a lawyer.
Therefore, stated very simply, if you bond out of jail, the court will very likely not provide court-appointed counsel. Thus, when you bond out of jail, you will nearly always be required to hire and pay a private lawyer. Don’t go about defending yourself. Ben Franklin said:“A man who represents himself has a fool for a client.”
Don’t make a mistake that could adversely impact the rest of your life. When your freedom is at risk, it makes absolute sense to take all necessary precautions for your preservation. You need a lawyer, but not just any lawyer. It would be best if you had a lawyer familiar with defending criminal charges. You need a lawyer who relentlessly fights for your freedom. You need a lawyer who cares about you and what’s best for you and the rest of your life. Hopefully, you never find yourself charged with a crime.
In the unfortunate event, you do need a hard-charging lawyer, do not hesitate. Call attorney John Mac Hayes today (918) 894-6986. Put a fighter in your corner.
*No part of this article constitutes the formation of an attorney-client relationship. This is a public service message only.