FAQ

If I get arrested, how soon should I hire an attorney/lawyer?

You should contact an attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help you figure out what might happen at the first court date and can even help you determine whether criminal charges are being filed by the District Attorney’s Office.

If I was arrested or received a citation to go to court, does that mean there are criminal charges against me?

No, an arrest or citation does not necessarily or always mean you have been "charged" with a crime. The charging decision is made by a prosecutor. An arrest warrant, on the other hand, usually means charges have been filed or are about to be filed.

If I was handed a stay-away or Temporary Restraining Order at the time of my arrest, can I contact the other person if they contact me first?

No. You cannot contact the other party under any circumstance. You cannot text, call, convey messages through others, or communicate by social media.

If I know there is a warrant for my arrest, what should I do?

Contact an attorney/lawyer right away. The lawyer can help you figure out how to take care of the warrant and maybe even bail out. The lawyer can also help you possibly do a walk-in warrant with the help of a bail bondsman.

What is an Indictment?

An Indictment is different from a criminal complaint because it means that the case was presented to a grand jury for a charging decision. The grand jury is made up of a group of people who decide whether and what charges a person should face. Most often, federal cases are brought by indictment. But sometimes, when the government wants to keep certain information confidential or a case is complicated, even District Attorneys bring cases by indictment from a grand jury.

Does the defendant get to be at the grand jury?

No. It is only for the prosecutor. No defendant and no defense attorney.

Can I hire any attorney who practices criminal defense for a federal case?

No. You should always contact/hire a lawyer who specializes in federal criminal defense or who has handled cases in federal court.

If I’ve been arrested for a DUI, what should I do?

After contacting a lawyer, you should make sure that you or the lawyer contact the DMV to schedule a DMV hearing to challenge the suspension of your driver’s license.

If I’m in custody, how can I hire a lawyer or reach a lawyer?

If you are in custody, the best thing to do is to have friends or family help you out. If you bail out, you can contact a lawyer but if you haven’t posted bail, you should immediately call someone and have them start looking for a lawyer. That will be the most efficient way to hire a lawyer. If you end up in court without a lawyer, most judges will allow a person to come back to court with the lawyer of their choice, if they plan on hiring an attorney.

If I have a federal case, can I post bail to be released from custody?

If you are facing federal charges in federal court, you should not contact a bail bondsman. The federal bond system, at least in the jurisdiction of the Northern District of California, has its own process and it does not involve using a bail bondsman. If you contact Julia Jayne at Jayne Law Group, she can explain this in greater detail.