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How to Handle a Trip to Jail

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There’s nothing fun about getting arrested. No matter how minor or unfair your charge may be, the entire process is downright unpleasant every step of the way. No one ever plans to spend a night in jail, but it can happen to the best of us for any number of reasons. Whether it’s an unpaid parking ticket, a small bag of weed in your trunk or a DWI, the worst case scenario can come true for even the best people.

The good news? A trip to jail doesn’t have to be the end of the world. Just follow these simple, step-by-step tips to protect your rights and make it through the night.

Keep Your Cool When You’re Getting Arrested

By the time you’re handcuffed in the back of a squad car, your police encounter has definitively gone south. No matter how unfair the arrest is or how rude the cop is acting, this is not the time to put up any kind of fight, either verbal or physical. When a cop tells you that, “anything you say or do can and will be used against you,” they mean it. So instead of making excuses, arguing or incriminating yourself, refuse to answer questions and play the quiet game until you get to the jail. Your lawyer (and maybe even your wallet) will thank you later.

Don’t Lie During Booking

As you’re processed into the jail, you will be asked a number of routine questions about your health and psychological state. Do NOT lie when answering any of these questions thinking you’ll receive a Get out of Jail Free card. Claiming to be either suicidal or physically/mentally ill when you really aren’t will only make your situation worse.

Make the Most of Your Phone Time

Like most things you see in movies and TV shows, the, “you’ve got one phone call,” line is more or less a myth. While you are entitled to a lawyer (a right you should take full advantage of), you are not necessarily entitled to use the phone at all. Most county jails treat phone use as a privilege that can either be rewarded or taken away based on your behavior. So if you don’t get put in front of a phone right away, remain calm. Request a lawyer whenever an officer tries to ask you questions, and when you do get to use the phone, make sure it counts. If you don’t know your lawyer’s phone number, call whoever can provide you with the widest range of help from contacting a bail bondsman/lawyer all the way to looking after your pets until you get home.

Don’t Enter a Plea Without Speaking to your Lawyer

Before you can be released from prison, you will be required to face a magistrate, and have your charges explained to you. This process is known as arraignment, and while you are allowed to have a lawyer present for this process, it is not entirely necessary. Instead, request that you wait for an attorney before entering your plea. That way, you and your attorney can determine the best course of action with fewer complications.

Keep to Yourself

Unless your charges are extremely serious, chances are you won’t be in jail for more than a few days. To stay safe and out of trouble, you may be best advised to simply wait it out without getting mixed up in other people’s business. While bad things can happen to good people, chances are most of your company are not the sort of people you want as friends. After all, nothing will extend your stay faster than getting involved in a fight or getting tricked into committing another crime on someone else’s behalf.

Avoid the Food (if possible)

Just about anyone will tell you that jail food is disgusting. The part they leave out, however, is that the bathrooms are typically out in the open. If you find yourself getting sick, you’ll be doing so in front of the entire jail, which isn’t exactly something angry prisoners will find endearing. If you know you’ll be out of jail sooner rather than later, it may be in your best interest to skip out on the food as much as you can.

Just Relax

As bad as jail may be, the best thing you can do for yourself is to keep your cool. By staying calm, being non-combative and remaining patient, your trip to jail won’t have to amount to much more than a lousy, expensive weekend. Nothing about this will be pleasant, but as long as you don’t do anything to add to your troubles while you’re still in jail, you’ll get through it just fine.

Memorize this Number: 713-864-9000

If you get arrested on criminal charges, Mark Thiessen is the only attorney you’ll want to have in your corner. From DWI and Drug Possession to Arson and Theft, the team at Thiessen Law Firm fights tirelessly to protect their clients, and they can do the same for you. Whether you’re still behind bars or you just got out on bond, call our office to receive your free consultation, and get your life back on track.

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