It’s a situation no one ever hopes to face, but knowing what to do if someone gets arrested in Texas could be a lifesaver for yourself or a friend. Whether you or your friend were arrested for mushrooms or arrested for fighting at the local watering hole, knowing what to do after can not only save you time in jail but may work towards protecting your freedom.

If you’ve never dealt with this before you likely have some questions. How long does it take for someone to go to jail? How do I get them out? What happens during a booking? If someone you know has been arrested, you’ll need to act fast against a system that prefers to take its time. Taking the right steps in the right order is the only way to make sure your friend or family gets out of lockup quickly and safely.

If you or a loved one has been arrested and needs a criminal lawyer to help protect your rights, call Thiessen Law Firm today at (713) 864-9000 for a free consultation.

How do I find out if someone is in police custody?

Often the first and most immediate concern when someone gets arrested is finding out where exactly they are and confirming their custody status. 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 look up an inmate and see whether or not they’ve been processed, what their bail is, and more.

An important note on finding someone after they’ve been arrested: these websites are not always updated instantaneously and the booking process can often last many hours. If you don’t see your friend’s name on HPD or the county jail’s site, we recommend calling and speaking to a real human to see if your loved one is still going through the booking process.

How do you get someone out of jail in Texas?

Once you’ve confirmed that someone is in police custody, you’re probably going to want to get them out of custody. To do so, you’re generally going to have to post bond.

Although the two terms are often (incorrectly) used interchangeably, there is a difference between bail and bond. Bond is the money that you pay to a bail bondsman for the service of paying for bail, while bail is the amount that the court requires for a suspect in custody’s temporary or conditional release.

Bail amounts, and therefore bond amounts, depend heavily upon the severity of the charge for which the arrestee is accused, as well as their previous criminal history. Repeat offenders and those accused of more severe crimes will face much higher bail amounts than those arrested for first-offense DWI or first-time drug possession charges in Texas.

Continue reading: How much is bail for a DWI?

How long can you be held in jail before seeing a judge in Texas?

How long do you stay in jail after being arrested? You can be held for 48 hours without charges in Texas. Generally either the same day or the following day after you are arrested you will appear before a magistrate judge who will set the bail amount (if they decide to offer bail) and the initial hearing date for your case.

Although 48 hours is intended to be the maximum window for an initial appearance, this 48-hour period may not include weekends or holidays. 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.

What happens after someone gets arrested?

What happens when you get arrested in Texas? Without further ado, below is our step-by-step recommendation for what to do if someone gets arrested in Texas.

Step 1: Control the situation

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.

Step 2: Call a bail bondsman

Second on the list of what to do if someone you know is arrested: contact a bail bondsman immediately. We talked about how the processing and arraignment can take some time, but the best way to speed up the process is to call a bail bondsman immediately before you even 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 3: Call Thiessen Law Firm for help

The most important part of what to do if someone gets arrested in Texas is to call an attorney who can help your loved one navigate the turbulence after their arrest. Once you post-bond and are released back into the world, the real fight starts. Make sure you get the best defense possible, whether you need a DWI lawyer in Houston or a Houston drug crime attorney, the attorneys at Thiessen Law Firm are here for you.

If your loved one gets arrested, Thiessen Law Firm can help.

To summarize, if you need to know what to do when someone gets arrested, control the situation as best you can, call a bail bondsman, then call Thiessen Law Firm. We recognize how scary it can be to face criminal charges and we make it our mission to simplify the process as much as possible for the people we serve. We’ve helped our clients beat a variety of charges ranging from DWI to intoxication manslaughter and even murder.

Calling Thiessen Law Firm will not only make sure that you have Mark Thiessen, Houston’s foremost DWI expert, in your corner but that you’ll have 24/7 access to the entire team, including our cell phone numbers for use whenever you need us.

Call Thiessen Law Firm today at (713) 864-9000 or contact us online and begin putting the pieces back together after the arrest.

More Helpful Articles by Thiessen Law Firm: 

Thiessen Law Firm

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.