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Limiting The Cost and Burden Of Your Brush With the Law

Thu, 04/28/2016 - 10:35am | by jennaleesmith1

Being arrested is a huge wake-up call. And, contrary to popular belief, it really can happen to anyone. It might be a small—or big—mistake or bad decision like an injury-causing driving infraction or DUI that’s gotten you or your child mixed up with the judicial system. What may have seemed like a sudden poor lifestyle choice or just a random error can suddenly and profoundly disrupt your life!

Whatever it is for you, the decisions you make within the first 30 days of your brush with the law will determine your course. 

Having a criminal record can haunt you for the rest of your life. It complicates everything from employment to loan applications. And again, don't think it can't happen to you.

However, if it does, don't panic. There are many things you can do to prevent your life from falling apart. Don't choose the slippery slop to financial troubles, relationship woes and family disruption. Instead of pushing the snooze button, heed the wake-up call and reach out!

Reach out to the right people

You may need to reach out to family members or friends who you've had a difficult time with in the past. Most of your support system should be those who realize your efforts and the difficulty of your situation. It is hard, right?

At the same time, don’t reach out to family members who are going to be extremely negative or critical or friends who will just be “yes men.” Intentionally choose to surround yourself with a support system or 12 steps organizations full of good role models who will encourage you and give you practical and emotional support.

Get the right kind of legal help

Know your rights. You are entitled to legal assistance even if you cannot pay for it. Consult with your attorney before giving police any information other than processing requirements like your name and address. Whether you are guilty or innocent of the crime, exercise your legal right to remain silent until you consult with an attorney. This will help insure that your legal outcome is as positive as possible.

Limit the financial burden

Like most people who are arrested, you will probably be given the option of posting bail. Paying bail will allow you to get out of jail while waiting for trial. You may be able to pay this yourself or borrow from family and friends. If you cannot afford bail you'll probably need to use a bail bond agency. I

You're also going to want to make sure you get legal aid that can help you reduce court costs and potentially reduce the charges as well. Good legal representation will cost you but in the end it is totally worth the amount you will save on frivolous legal expenditures.

If you are ordered to do community service, go to rehabilitation or take classes, attend faithfully, as this may also in reduced punitive damages. Remember, these orders are often given in place of jail time and can sometimes even result in the charges being expunged. So take advantage of any second chances you are given.

Set yourself up for success

Remember, an arrest is often the result of underlying causes—a wily group of friends who go out too often, depression or unemployment. For lasting change, be sure to get to those underlying causes and confront them head on. 

Get drastic and move to a different city if you have to. Seek professional help from therapists. Pray. Do what you love. Go back to school. Obtain job training.

It’s been said that you have to hit rock bottom before you make a real change in life. Well, if you’ve been arrested, instead of letting things get even worse—choose to make this your rock bottom. Take it seriously, work through the process and come out better for it.


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