If you discover that a warrant has been issued for your arrest, what should you do? Do you go to the nearest police station and turn yourself in? Do you run? Do you stick your head in the sand and pretend that it hasn’t happened?
The answer to this question is none of the above. Of course, it’s always better, in the long run, to turn yourself in rather than wait to be caught and arrested. By being proactive about it, you may be cutting down on jail time or even reducing the amount of bail that the judge sets for you. If you run, you will always face a harsher penalty.
However, before you turn yourself in, there are a few things you should do to ensure that everything goes quickly and smoothly and works to your benefit.
Find out details.
You don’t want any surprises when you show up. Find out:
What it is you’re being charged for
How much your bail has been set at
What the maximum penalty is for the offense which you’re being charged
If these new charges violate your probation (if you are on probation for previous offenses)
Get a criminal defense lawyer.
Although a lawyer will be appointed for you if you can’t afford one once you’ve been arrested, it’s best to get your own before you turn yourself in if you can afford to do so. You may be apprehensive to speak to an attorney before you’ve surrendered yourself to law enforcement in case you change your mind, but rest assured that the attorney cannot talk to the police and anything you say is kept in confidence by law.
When you turn yourself in, you will be read your Miranda Rights, which includes your right to remain silent and if you waive this right, anything you say can be used against you in court. Do NOT waive this right! You will be questioned by the police and even simple questions could confuse you, as they are typically designed to do, and you may say something that sounds incriminating even if it isn’t. If you have a lawyer present, they will probably advise you to not say anything and will ensure that you don’t. They will guide you through the entire process and advise you on what steps to take next. They work for you, and it’s their job to represent you in the best way possible.
Upon your surrender to police, you will most likely be put in jail, and it can be difficult to contact an attorney after you’ve been arrested and may even take several days before you’re arraigned and able to post bail. You may be able to negotiate your bail amount or even a plea deal, so having a defense attorney with you may be helpful in those regards. They understand the law, your situation, and what is reasonable to ask of the judge in your case.
You’re probably going to need a lawyer anyway, so by obtaining one before you turn yourself in instead of when you’re about to be arraigned, your lawyer can better represent you.
Being prepared means dressing appropriately. Although you don’t need to dress as you would if you were making a court appearance, it is important that you dress neatly. Comfortable clothes are fine as long as you don’t look sloppy. Don’t bring anything that may be considered contraband such as a pocket knife or tobacco products. You won’t be allowed to bring your cell phone with you either, so it’s best to memorize important phone numbers or write them on a piece of paper.
Choose the right day.
Yes, some days are better for the police than others and will ultimately be better for you because it will speed up the process. Mondays are usually the busiest days for law enforcement because they usually spend them dealing with at least two days’ worth of arrests, and on Friday afternoons, it may be difficult to find a judge. The best days to turn yourself in are Tuesday through Thursday.
The decision to turn yourself in or not may seem like a difficult one, but it’s always better for your case if you do. Besides the fact that a judge may look at you more favorably, you’ll save your family and friends the trauma of seeing you be arrested or you’ll save yourself the embarrassment of being arrested at work in front of all your co-workers.
It may also be helpful to contact a bail bondsman ahead of time to get the ball rolling for your release. At Mercy Bail Bonds, we’re available 24/7 to get you out of jail as quickly as possible. Our experts will help you through the entire process and thoroughly explain the procedures and what information we need to move forward. We may even be able to get you out of jail in a few hours. Call Mercy today at (727)856-7775.