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What to Do If Your Friend Is Arrested

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Your Friend Got Arrested, Now What?

It can happen at any time. You might be out on the town getting some drinks with your friend or sitting at home having a relaxing evening when you hear a knock on the door. Whatever the cause, your friend has been placed in handcuffs and escorted to the back seat of a police cruiser. What do you do?

Your natural instinct is probably to help your friend. After all, you might be concerned for their well-being and you want to help them get out of jail if possible. Despite your best intentions, you might actually be making the situation worse.

It’s possible to help your friend when they have been arrested but you need to go about it the right way. Check out these tips to find out what you should do if your friend is arrested.

The Arrest Process

Police officers generally initiate arrests for a couple of reasons:

  • They notice someone engaging in criminal behavior or suspicious activity
  • They are following up on an investigation or carrying out a warrant

In either one of these scenarios, the police are trying to do their job. They will either have a reasonable belief that your friend is causing trouble or they will have a specific reason to stop, question and arrest your friend. There could be many factors that motivate an arrest but the end result is the same: your friend will be taking a trip to the county jail or the police station.

At this point, there is not much that you can do. Never try to talk a police officer out of doing their job. At best, you’ll annoy the police officer and, at worst, you’ll be arrested as well for obstructing the police.

Your best bet in this scenario is to be familiar with what happens after an arrest. Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • The arrested person will be handcuffed and taken to a jail or police station
  • They will be booked into a holding area and informed of the charges against them
  • They will have their possessions confiscated and stored
  • They will be given an opportunity to contact someone by telephone

Through most of this process, you won’t be able to contact your friend until they are allowed to use a phone. That doesn’t mean that you have to sit idly, though. You can start the process of helping your friend right away.

How To React And What To Do

If your friend gets arrested, you’re probably nervous or worried. That’s normal but don’t let it influence your reactions. Here’s some tips on how to react in this situation:

#1. Stay Calm

You’re probably feeling the effects of adrenaline and maybe the cocktails you had that evening before your friend got arrested. Don‘t let your emotions take over or you could get arrested as well. Take some deep breaths. Walk it off. Don’t bother or harass the arresting officer. Let them do their job and stay out of the way. You can ask the officer where your friend will be taken so that you can help arrange their bail. Once you get an answer, keep your mouth closed.

If you’ve been drinking or using drugs, call a friend or a cab to get you home safely. You need to have a clear head to be able to help your friend. If you’re intoxicated, sleep it off and call another friend to help.

Once you’re sober and calm, it’s time to take the next step.

#2. Make A Phone Call

At some point, you’re probably going to get a call from your friend. You may have to accept some collect charges if they’re calling from the jail. They’re expensive so keep the call short. Find out how your friend is doing and what charges they are facing. Ask them if they have a lawyer or if they know a good bail bondsman.

If they do, contact those people and explain the situation. If they don’t, be a good friend and do a Google search for a good bail bondsman and a local defense attorney that has experience in dealing with the charges that your friend is facing.

You may have to pay your friend’s bail. Don’t worry, in many cases, you’ll only have to pay the bondsman about 10% of the total bail amount. It might seem expensive at first but bailing your friend out is the best thing you can do for them.

#3. Meet With A Lawyer

Once your friend is bailed out, it’s time to set up a meeting with a lawyer. If your friend has a lawyer on retainer, you’re one step ahead. If they don’t, you two can work together to find a good lawyer nearby. Check with friends and family members for suggestions. Most attorneys will provide an initial consultation free of charge. Use this opportunity to explain your friend’s case and find out about possible legal defense options.

Use The System To Help Your Friend

When your friend gets arrested, you need to follow the rules to help them. You’ll only make it worse by making a scene or yelling at the police. You might be upset but the best way to help is to stay calm and use the system to give them a hand

It will require patience but it will be worth it in the end. Remember, find out where your friend is being taken, call a bondsman and call a lawyer as soon as you can. This will give your friend the help they need when they find themselves spending the night in jail.


Has one of your friends recently been arrested? It’s important to contact a lawyer as soon as possible. Brett A. Podolsky can help ensure that your friend’s rights are protected. Contact his office today at 713-227-0087.

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