They all bear the risk of arrest: marching, demonstrating, civil disobedience. Without planning about how to prepare and respond, no one can attend these activities. Preparations include logistical concerns such as attire and safety gear, but preparation for an arrest’s potential aftermath should also be included. Few tips for how to get ready are mentioned below.
Waiting For Bail and Taking Decisions
The majority of activists would try to walk out of prison as fast as possible. Bailing out would need you to have bail money (either the whole amount or enough to buy a bail bond) ready for you and anyone else to post it for you. Therefore you need to understand what bail will be, and you’re going to need a companion.
Know the Routine of Bail
The courts of most jurisdictions publish a bail schedule for each felony. Unless a protester is convicted for assault, looting, or other intentional acts of extreme illegality, misdemeanors of trespass, unlawful assembly, refusal to disperse, disorderly conduct, and potentially resisting arrest (see below) are the possible charges a protester will encounter. In advance, you’ll want to see the bail price correlated with these offenses. Courts normally make their bail plans visible to the public. You should be able to identify the misdemeanor schedule with a little searching. For instance, for most of the crimes mentioned above, California Santa Clara County bail schedule lists $1,000 as the bail price. If you have trouble locating the timetable, contact the county’s juvenile court clerk or the public defender’s office to inquire about the above crimes’ bail rates.
Decide How You’re Going To Pay Bail
The first step is understanding that you’re going to bail out for $1,000: now you need to make money available. It would be best if you bailed out in one of two ways:
- Pay the court the whole fee.
This is the better route if you have $1,000 in cash so you can park in the court while the case goes into the process. You get the money back if you arrive at all court hearings, minus a minor administrative fee before the case is closed.
- Paying a bondsman for bail.
The bail bondsman pays you a portion of the bail; usually, 10 percent, and the remaining is set before the tribunal. The bail bondsman loses his share if you abscond (one explanation why bond dealers send people out to track and seize others who have skipped town). The money that you pay for the bond is not returned to you, even if you arrive in all the hearings.
Find a Friend to Assist in Post Bail
When you decide that the whole amount will be paid upfront, make money available to a trustworthy person who may have to visit the courthouse to give the court or the clerk the money. Offer your friend the money for the bond and the name and phone number of the office you’ll use if you’re going to use a bail slave (do some internet homework first because some bondsmen fee is sometimes more than others).
In these COVID days, Own Recognizance is the Alternative to Bail.
You may be able to free yourself using your own recognition,” also known as “OR,” instead of bailing out of prison. Prisoners get OR’d because they can persuade the judge that they can come for all their court hearings without the possibility of losing their bail. These defendants explain to the court that they have positive social connections (they own land, have a corporation or long-standing employment, have a local family), and no record of avoiding court.
In 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic swept the world, an alternative argument for OR became clear. Since social distancing and solitude in jail were difficult to do, people in jails and prisons were highly vulnerable to encountering the virus. Judges were asked to free minor defendants without parole, and some counties have requested all defendants to be OR’d. If you are captured, the coronavirus is already an issue; preventing the virus is an extra claim you might make for OR.
For Your Post-Arrest Telephone Conversation, Write Down a Number
There’s one phone call that you get. Everyone knows that. By writing it on your forearm in ink, make sure that you know that number. Don’t presume that even a regularly called number will be recalled because the odds are that you don’t punch-in the numbers when you dial (you use the “favorites” folder of your mobile phone). The tension of the situation might make it impossible to recall the number. Write the number, but not the name, if your phone call goes to the lawyer.
Start Leaving Your Phone at Home
When you’re convicted, and when you’re checked into custody, all of your possessions will be seized. You can’t be sure that the cops won’t look at it if your mobile phone goes into a ziplock bag with your wallet and keys. The US Supreme Court decided that the police usually will require a warrant before a mobile phone can be searched, although there are exceptions. Why even give a chance? It’s enough to suggest you’re better off not showing them your phone in the first place.
Before going out, take a peek at your wallet’s contents for the very same reasons. Delete the most personal and precious details. What you need to bring are a driver’s license and some cash.
What Do You Need to Say to the Police?
Say almost nothing to the police, district prosecutors, and investigators with the government. It is as obvious as that. Before you’ve been detained, or after, you might be questioned; the questions might be harmless or suggestive bait, intended to make you lower your guard and speak. You might read your “freedom to Miranda,” or you might not. Do not answer in any case. If you mention something, it should not be more than, “I do not want to waive the rights of my Miranda.”
Do not talk with your cellmates, who are expected to be strangers, in the same manner. You can’t be sure, but they may share your values and never turn on you. You still do not know if any of them are “plants” or inmates held in the cell, so they are prepared to testify in return for leniency against others.
Speak With An Attorney
If you’ve been arrested at a rally, odds are you’re facing felony charges. If you apply for the public defender’s assistance, you would need a lawyer; it is not a smart idea to self-represent yourself in a court case. Seek someone who has previously practiced in the courtroom where the lawsuit is being held. When you are awaiting criminal charges, make sure the counsel you employ has federal court experience, not just state court experience.