Criminal charges can impact an entire family and its future. In the event your significant other is accused of a crime, you can take steps to mitigate family disruptions and offer constructive support.
Find Legal Representation Immediately
A criminal case begins when police make an arrest and file an arrest report. The report summarizes information about the case including details such as dates, times, witnesses, and so on. The report is then handed over to a prosecutor who is responsible for determining whether to pursue charges and what charges (if any) will be filed against the accused.
A prosecutor represents the state or “the people” in a criminal case, and a criminal defense attorney represents the accused.
All criminal defendants in Colorado have the right to legal representation regardless of social or economic status. While a public defender is better than no legal representation, there is no guarantee that a court-assigned public defender has the best experience for a particular case or that he will have ample time and resources to dedicate to a single defendant.
Conversely, a private criminal defense attorney may specialize in certain types of criminal cases and be able to dedicate time and resources to a specific defense for a fee. And most reputable criminal defense lawyers, including the accomplished Denver attorneys at Wolf Law, offer free case consultations to help you understand your options.
If your significant other is charged with a crime, take deliberate action to seek legal counsel on their behalf as soon as possible—but especially before your loved one makes statements to the police. Everything said (or not said) to police during preliminary interrogations can impact the outcome of a case significantly. For example, in 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that exercising the Fifth Amendment privilege (refusing to answer a question to avoid self-incrimination) can be used against a defendant depending on how and when this privilege is asserted.
Of course, what’s said to police can also be used against the accused; it can be misinterpreted, coerced, or recorded inaccurately, which is why it’s critical to help your significant other find an experienced criminal defender early on.
If your partner is arrested, tell them to ask for a lawyer and to avoid speaking with police until he or she has first consulted with an attorney. You can aid this process by researching criminal defense lawyers and securing counsel for your partner.
Communication: Restrictions and Best Practices
Depending on the nature of the charges, significant others may be barred from certain types of communications or contact. The best thing you can do is obey these restrictions and make smart choices about communicating information regarding the case and charges.
This is particularly common in domestic violence cases. In Colorado, for example, police are required to make an arrest if they have reasonable suspicion that a situation could escalate to violence. Even if the alleged victim doesn’t want to press charges or lied about what happened, police are required to make an arrest.
Domestic violence charges can result in a no contact agreement or restraining order. These restrictions outline contact and communication limitations, which can include everything from communications on social media to physical contact with the victim and children.
Violating these restrictions can make matters worse for the accused. If your significant other has been ordered to restrict contact with you, your children, or family home, respect these orders or risk further charges.
You can help your loved one by following the rules and minimizing what you say about the case and charges—especially what you say online or on social media.
Defendants should also limit their communications online and across all social media. Prosecutors have been known to use social content to build a case against the defendant; be sure to inform your significant other about the risks of posting online following an arrest.
If you’re not sure about what contact or communication is acceptable, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to review the details of the case.
Build an Effective Support System
The trauma of an arrest can be challenging to cope with, but family members can help their loved one (and each other) by building an effective support system. If you receive a call from your significant other informing you of his or her arrest, remain calm and inform him or her that you’ll aid in any way you can.
Do not discuss the details of the arrest over the phone. Most facilities record phone conversations, and defendants agree to these conditions during jail orientation where they must consent to read and obey the rules of the jail house.
Leave the details of the case to an attorney, and use your focus to support your partner in other ways.
Other ways you can provide support to your significant other include:
- Contacting an experienced criminal defense attorney for legal representation
- Making sure any medications he or she may be taking are made aware to the police and are available for the duration of detention
- Notifying your partner’s employer that he or she may not be available for work
- Asking friends and family for help around the house, with childcare, etc.
A family member’s arrest isn’t something we often prepare for, but by securing effective legal counsel, practicing safe communications, and building a healthy support system you can make the process a bit easier to bear.
If your significant other has been arrested and charged with a crime in Colorado, you need Wolf Law. Our experienced Denver attorneys can help guide you and your family through the uncertain times following a loved one’s arrest.
Call 720-479-8574 today to speak with a Colorado defense attorney or tell us what happened online to get started now.