It’s a situation we never hope to face, “What should I do? Someone I know is arrested.” Phone calls at 2am can be annoying: butt-dials from loud clubs, drunken questions about lost keys or even missed connections. But they don’t hold a candle next to answering an unknown number only to hear, “You are receiving a collect call from an inmate in Harris County Jail” on the line, followed by a desperate plea for help from your friend or loved one.

If you’ve never dealt with this before, we’re sure some of the many following questions typically are: “How long does it take for someone to go to jail?” and “What happens during a booking?” If someone you know has been arrested, you’ll want to act fast against a system that prefers to take its time. Taking the right steps in the right order is only way to make sure your friend is out of lockup quickly and safely. Here’s what you need to know and do to get them home.

Step One: Keep Things On Track

Stay calm. Not as obvious, but this is definitely first on the list of what to do once someone you know has been arrested. If you are present during the actual arrest, try to follow these three steps:

  1. Calmly and politely ask the police officer for the exact name of the charges.
  2. Calmly and politely ask the remaining police officer for the name of the jail where your friend will be taken.
  3. DO NOT try to argue with the police officer. You will not change the situation and may even make things worse.

If the arrest happened without you present, try to keep them calm on the phone. Make the most of your time on the phone by finding out what they’ve been accused of and where they are. If they start rambling about an unmarked cop car, their charges or other details of the arrest, try to make them stop. You want to take full advantage of the limited time you have with them on the phone.

Whether your arrested friend was caught with weed or needs an aggravated assault lawyer in Houston, extra conversation could hurt their case. Something to note is that these calls are recorded and an inadvertent confession could be used against them in court. Let them know that you’re working as fast as you can to get them home and remind them to also stay calm and not to talk about their case until they’ve hired a lawyer.

Occasionally we hear, “I think my friend is in jail, how do I find him?” If you’ve only heard about a friend’s arrest and haven’t been in contact with them directly, there are websites you can use to find out where they are, what they’re being charged with and whether or not a bond has been set. The best place to start is the Houston Police Department’s website or Harris County Jail’s website, where you can lookup an inmate and see whether or not they’ve been processed, what their bail is and more.

Step Two: Contact a Bail Bondsman

Second on the list of what to do if someone you know is arrested: contact a bail bondsman immediately. Unfortunately, the hard truth you may not hear from other lawyers is that getting someone out of jail can take some time. Even if you followed the police cruiser to the jail with a bag full of cash for bail, you’d still have to wait for your friend to be processed and arraigned before getting them home. Unfortunately, this process can take hours or even days depending on when and where your friend was arrested.

The best way to speed up the process? Call a bail bondsman immediately, even before you call a lawyer. We recommend Burns Bail Bonds in the heart of Downtown Houston.

Bail bondsmen have access to information that you don’t, and as long as they know who your friend is and where they are, they are your best bet for getting your friend out as soon as humanly possible. In exchange for approximately 10% of the full bail amount, your bondsman will contact the jail, post bond and collect your friend from jail in an expedited fashion. Best of all, you can even pay an extra fee to escalate the process by having a bail bondsman wait in line for you and deliver the necessary funds to have your friend released.

For more information on the Harris County bail reforms and personal recognizance bonds, please watch this quick video from DWI specialist Mark Theissen: 

Step Three: Call Mark Thiessen and the Thiessen Law Firm

After calling a bondsman, the best thing to do if someone you know is arrested is to call a lawyer. Specifically, set your friend up with the best legal defense Houston has to offer: the attorneys at the Thiessen Law Firm. Schedule a free consultation now, we’re available 24/7.

We’ve helped our clients beat a variety of charges ranging from DWI and assault all the way to intoxication manslaughter. Our team is experienced at protecting freedom every step of the way and answering concerns such as “What to do if you have an arrest warrant?” to “How long does it take to go to court after being charged?”

We recognize how scary it can be to face a criminal charge and we make it our mission to simplify the process as much as possible. Not only will your friend have Houston’s foremost DWI expert in their corner, they’ll have 24/7 access to their attorney, including our cell phone numbers for use whenever they need us.

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Mark Thiessen

Mark Thiessen is an aggressive trial lawyer best known for his devotion to justice for his clients and high rank as a DWI Super Lawyer in Texas.