By Andrew Sarski
Although you may be confused, scared or angry at first, if you have been placed under arrest or have been asked to go to the police station for questioning in a crime, you should contact a criminal defense lawyer immediately. Criminal defense lawyers know what your rights are and how you should handle your arrest.
A qualified defense attorney will advise you on your rights so you don’t get caught off guard by police interrogation tactics. This legal advice alone could protect your freedom. After arrest and bail, you will be arraigned and assigned a court date. The US Court System is a very complicated justice system and you will need an attorney that is well versed in your state laws to argue your case. The following topics may help you understand the criminal justice process if you have been charged with a crime.
Severity of Criminal Charges
You could be charged with an infraction. An example of an infraction could be a noise violation. The punishment of an infraction can not be jail time, only fines, the loss of your license or other personal liberty restrictions, excluding jail. You can not go to jail for an infraction. There are times in negotiations between your criminal defense attorney and the prosecutor of your case will reduce a greater charge (felony or misdemeanor) to an infraction with an admittance of guilt. If you are charged with a Misdemeanor, the punishment is more severe. A misdemeanor can carry a jail sentence (up to a year in jail) and large fines. If it is your first offense and you are convicted, the best case scenario is you are offered probation and a hefty fine. Being charged with a felony is the most serious criminal charge that can be brought against you. If you are convicted of a felony you may be sentenced to jail time in State Prison.
How to Handle the Police looking for you
If the police are looking for you or have called you directly in relation to a crime, it is in your best interest to talk to a lawyer before you speak with the police. Although you have not been placed under arrest, anything you say to the police detectives over the telephone or casually in person can be used against you. Whatever you do, do not lie or tell mis truths to the police thinking that it can not be used against you. Everything can be used against you in the court of law if you have not been placed under arrest.
If you are in Police custody, it is most likely that the Police will read you your Miranda rights. If you are read the Miranda rights, everything you say can and most likely will be used against you in a court of law. At this point, it is most likely in your best interest to give the police officers your name and address and request to speak with a lawyer. After this, do not say anything until you speak with a lawyer.
This article should shed some light on what to expect if you are detained by the police or placed under arrest. Getting arrested is a horrible experience than can only get worse if you do not have an advocate fighting for you. If you have been arrested, contact a criminal defense attorney immediately. It is in your best interest as your very personal freedom is in jeopardy.
If you have been charged with a crime, contact an Oklahoma City Defense Attorney at the Law Firm of Atkins & Markoff. If you have been charged with a [http://www.oklahomasexcrimeslawcenter.com/]Sex Offense, [http://www.oklahomaduicenter.com/]Oklahoma City DUI or an [http://www.oklahomacriminallawcenter.com/oklahoma_drugoffenses.html]Oklahoma City Drug Charge, you need a qualified Defense Lawyer: Contact Atkins & Markoff today!
This article, which is not meant to be legal advice, may be republished providing all of the resource links remain intact.
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By Aazdak Alisimo
As you’ve probably seen on television and the movies, you have the right to a speedy trial as an American citizen. So, what exactly exactly is this speedy trial stuff about?
As citizens of the United States, you have certain inalienable rights. These include things such as the right to the freedom of speech, the right to bear arms and other civil liberties. The pillars of these rights are found in the Constitution. The sixth amendment of the constitution provides us with the right to a speedy and public trial.
So, who cares if you have the right to a speedy trial? What’s the big rush? Well, we have to look at other countries to get a better idea. Many authoritative regimes have touted themselves as democratic in nature. To one extent or another, they hold up the fact that they guarantee a right to trial to their citizens.
The problem, however, is in the details. They don’t offer a speedy trial. Instead, they arrest citizens and then let them sit in jail for years while waiting to go on trial. In some countries, they might wait up to ten years before getting their day in court. In a vast majority of these cases, the defendants are in jail because they object to actions being taken by the government.
The constitutional right to a speedy trial keeps the U.S. government from putting citizens in jail for a prolonged period. Following 9-11, the Bush administration has been roundly criticized for violating this notion via the Guantanamo Bay facility where prisoners have been held without any trials for years. The US Supreme Court has rejected the position of the Bush Administration and trials have begun.
So, how long can you sit in jail before the right to a speedy trial becomes an issue? It depends on the situation, but six months is generally a cut off period. Murder cases can be much longer. Ironically, most defendants do not invoke the right to a speedy trial as they want their attorneys to have time to mount a defence. In such cases, a defendant can waive his or her right to the speedy trial.
Aazdak Alisimo writes [http://www.criminaldefenselawyernet.com/criminal-law-articles]criminal law articles for CriminalDefenseLawyerNet.com where you can find a [http://www.criminaldefenselawyernet.com]criminal defense lawyer near you.
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By Solla Striker
PROCESSING: This is by far the very worst part about the jail experience. It is meant to be humiliating, crowded, not knowing what will happen because of what you did, lots of people in tears, maybe drunk or high, maybe just plain mean. Best thing to do is keep to yourself. Be considerate but don’t look for someone to trust to pour your heart out to or tell your story to. Be nice, be brief and keep to yourself. Then you learn – or don’t learn – depending on how difficult you want to make it on yourself – how to WAIT. You wait for just about everything. Answers mostly. It’s incredible how everyone all of a sudden doesn’t know much of anything. You wait to be moved from the first holding cell to the next one where there may be 20 or 30 others, 1 toilet for all of you. It might be clogged with whatever, have vomit all over it, or it may just work.
Forget about privacy- the toilet has a small wall but can be seen by everyone. Find a spot on the bench in the corner if you can. Chances are you’ll be in this room, shoulder to shoulder, maybe on the floor, people everywhere for 2-4 hours or more. You will wait – for your clothes, to use the pay phone, for the doctor, for your food, then your shower sometimes warm usually cold. Then you’re ordered to bend over, grab your cheeks and cough. You got your ‘roll-up’ consisting of a cotton pullover shirt, pullover pants, socks, bra, underwear, rubber open-toe sandal like shoes (maybe they’ll fit) or canvas slip-ons. You got this ‘roll-up’ before the shower so now after you’ve been ‘inspected’ and coughed, you get dressed – one piece at a time. The deputies give explicit instructions. If you have medicines or medical conditions, you’ll wait in another holding cell for perhaps 8 or 10 hours more, again, shoulder to shoulder, on the bench, against the wall, on the floor, you try to sleep if you can. When being moved from holding cell to holding cell, you must keep you hands in your pockets, walk on the colored line and do exactly as told to do by the deputy.
Be nice, smile, listen but keep to your self. When everyone in your group has seen the doctor, you are put into smaller groups and guided to your “pod” where, if you’re lucky you’ll have a cell and you can sleep. Congratulations. You made it through PROCESSING, and it only took from 6 to 20 hours (it took 22 hours I remember once when women were housed at Twin Towers in Los Angeles), to get through it. Remember: the Deputies care nothing about efficiency or about being polite. Mostly they’re mean, cordial but mean. And they’ll make you feel stupid and worthless when ever they get a chance. After all, you are only a “fish”.
DAILY ROUTINE: After waiting for however long it takes for every one to see the doctor or when they find out where they’re going to house you, you’ll be assigned a permanent place. You’ll get a thin mat and a blanket. The mat is to placed on a steel bunk attached to the wall in your cell. There are 6 or 7 2 person cells on the bottom floor with an equal number of cells on the top floor connected by steel stairs on both sides. There are 5 or 6 steel tables and connecting steel seats where everyone has their collective meals. This is a “pod” and there are 6 to 8 pods to that side of the floor. The deputy has a control booth between the isles having 6 or 8 pods on one side, same on the other. This booth is where everything is controlled – doors are electronically opened and shut, announcements are made, etc. You will share your cell in the pod with one other behind an electronically controlled door in a room that measures about 6′ x 10′. You will have a steel sink and a toilet It’s mostly cold every where but there isn’t a lot you can do about it. If the jail is crowded, you won’t get a cell but will be out in the public area – where the eating tables are on a bunk tiered for 3 people and there could be as many as 50 out there with you in addition to each cell having 2 people in it.
At some point before entering the pod, you are handed a packet containing a black hair comb, a toothbrush, small bar of soap, a razor, a small bottle of shampoo, and a small pencil. You’ll get your money that you had on you or get some sent so you can put money on your ‘books’ where you can buy tons of junk food, candy, maybe an eraser or pencil, tampons or other “luxuries” they will have in the highly over-priced list of commodities known as the jail Commissary. You’ll not mind so much that everything is about 4x more expensive than on the outside. Just so you can buy something to make yourself feel a little better. Phone calls to your loved ones (this is when you find out about love…parents are usually the ones to bear the brunt of jail expenses between accepting collect phone calls and providing $10 or $20 to their daughter so she’ll have money on her books). These ‘collect’ calls are much higher than those made from the outside and can only be made to a home-based phone, no calls can be made to a cell phone. Calls can be made when the phones are ‘turned on’ and only at certain times. So many that believe their situation is more important than yours and will talk to their mom, dad, sister, brother, boyfriend, anyone to prove it. You wait in line for the phone and for each meal. Depending on where you are or how you are classified you may or may not have to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner but breakfast is at 6AM. If you go to court, you must be awake and ready to leave by 3AM. Mostly though, you wait and wait and wait ….for just about everything. Try to be patient. Know that if someone does something they should not do (like start a fight or some disturbance) all of you will pay, usually with a ‘Lock Down.’ Know that the deputies can come into your cell at any given moment, tear apart your room and belongings and lock you down if an extra bra or pair of socks are found. Best thing to do – and it’s much easier said than done – is to just keep cool about it all. Find someone with a good sense of humor and laugh it off. Laugh a lot if you can. Believe me, there is a whole lot of stuff to laugh about if you look at it from a certain angle.
Be honest. Exercise. Do not eat a lot as weight gain is almost a sure bet. Keep a positive outlook. Give up your need for privacy. Laugh a lot and when ever you can. Say nothing that you wouldn’t mind hearing about in a public courtroom. Improve your relationships with your family and trust ONLY your family to take care of your domestic affairs. Do not leave financial matters to a boyfriend, a girlfriend or a neighbor. Cry a lot if you have to but do it privately. Know you will get through this and most importantly LEARN what mistakes you made that got you there and what you need to change or do to not ever have to go back. There is so much more that could be said but these are the basics. Hope this short “Guidebook to Jail” helps someone to cope. Just know this too shall change, hopefully for the better.
Personal Experience over a 10 year bout
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By Lewis Gunter
As a recent venture, I’ve had the opportunity to talk to people who have had experiences of being incarcerated. I personally have never had time behind bars and have no close acquaintances who’ve been through the experience, either. As such, my only exposure to the jail experience is from what I’ve seen from TV and movies. I never really knew what the actual experience was like.
My phone interviews were educational in several ways. For one, as background research, I found out that one out of 142 Americans (slightly outdated data – likely a higher percentage now) is currently in jail. It’s over 2 million people right now. I also learned things about some jail terminology and concepts I had not previously grasped. For example, in some counties, you will only serve one half of your sentenced time as a result of time off for good behavior. I learned about work release programs that give relatively privileged inmates a level of freedom even when they’re not fully free.
I also learned about the dark side of jail. Now, as I mentioned, I’ve seen movies and TV that have shown me a lot of dirty things going on in jail, but I have a hard time believing them because, hey, it’s the movies. It turns out that a lot of the stuff about the gangs requiring payment for protection, watching out who you talk to, shiv making and so forth really does happen, at least in the big jails. It was pretty scary to find out the amount of reality in the fiction I’d seen.
After my interaction with these ex-inmates, I was given a new level of respect for the freedoms I take for granted. In a lot of ways, hearing about how bad things are there opened my eyes to how good I have it. I don’t know if I’d necessarily recommend it as a pastime for people who want to see the positive in their lives, but I do think that if you know someone who’s been to jail, talking to them can provide a very enlightening look into just how good your life really is.
Lewis is a media manager for Jail Media, which currently has informational sites for the [http://theocjail.com]Orange County Jail, the [http://utah-county-jail.com]Utah County Jail, and [http://cookcojail.com]Cook County Jail.
By Frances Russo
There are approximately 2 million men in the prison system in the United States. That means there are a lot of loved ones left behind to wait…wives, girlfriends, lovers, sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, and yes, even children. Only the strong can survive this ordeal.
The heartache and pain is almost unbearable for the prison wife who waits at home. Endless moments, which turn into minutes, hours, and days. Days that turn into weeks. Weeks that turn into months….And then, months even turn into years. The seasons change, as time rolls by. Autumn turns to winter, and winter to spring, and then summer. Holidays come and go, with the Prison Wife “on the outside looking in.” She is never really part of anything. She exists in her own world. A world she creates around her. She puts up walls around her, and often becomes a recluse. She lives her life “to keep the household together.”……She works, pays the bills, takes care of the children…she does all the normal things of life, but she lives in an abnormal world.
The Prison Wife does her “time” at home, along with her husband, as he does his “time” in a prison cell. The Prison Wife does “The Bid’ with her husband.
Many women say “I Do,” knowing fully well that their husband committed a crime, and must turn himself into prison. But can anything really prepare her for the heartache that lies ahead”……..The lonliness and endless days. No, nothing can prepare her, and it is shocking when the events all unfold around her. Sometimes she walks around as if in a dream…that this just all can’t be real.
Priosn Wives are “powerless,” and have no “freedom.” Her life revolves around collect calls from the prison…around “count,” around “Visits” that are so retrictive….She carries extra type of clothing in the car when she visits her husband, because if the prison guards “don’t like her clothes ” on that particular day, she may be refused entry to see her husband…So, she chanmges outfits, in the parking lot or back seat of the car…from sleeveless to sleeves, from too tight to loose, from wire under- bras to wireless bras…Whatever it takes!…Please Lord ! Please let the prison gurads accept what i’m wearing today! Please let me see my husband today!….It doesn’t matter that they refuse to let me use the ladies room…and when they do, it is usually a dirty, smelley, dark and dank outhouse, that is old and hasn’t been cleaned or painted in years. It doesn’t matter that I got up at 4am, to get here at 7 am, for early ungodly hours for visits. And these prisons seem to always be located in some far-off place, amongst the woods and farmlands. Most visitors trvel 2 or 3 or 4…maybe more, hours to get to their loved one.
I always heard the words “prison reform.” I always ignored it…it meant nothing to me, because after all, I had no one within the prison system. But now, I am part of it all…my husband is in prison. And so, not only am I for Prison Reform, but I am for “Rights for the prisoner’s wife and loved ones.”
I ask you, “Is anyone listening?”….Not unless they are there, in the same situation will they listen.” A nd of course it all starts with legislation. As for me, I am but one person….Everything in our world starts with “one.”…..”one person,” “one idea,”…….that spreads to others………So, I hope you are listening, and I hope you care…….I care about you!
My husband has been in the prison system for the last 22 months. I am a retired Registered Nurse, who writes about her daily life as a “prisoner’s wife,” in a journal on aol, called “REFLECTIONS OF A PRISON WIFE.”
(to get to my journal, you may also Google the words “Reflections of a Prison Wife,” OR “Prison Wife,” or “kintock.” You will find it on the first few pages, as it is quite popular) http://JOURNALS.AOL.COM/CRYSTALMOON222/REFLECTIONSOFAPRISONWIFE/
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By Jonathan L Richards
Your first few weeks and indeed your entire stay in prison will be made entirely more tolerable if you adhere to top three rules of inmate etiquette. Obeying these rules will help to positively shape your reputation, which will follow you throughout your sentence.
1. Don’t Rat
If you and another inmate have a problem, you settle it amongst yourselves. You do not go to the CO. You do not go to the Counselor or Unit Manager. If you see something going on that shouldn’t be, keep it to yourself. It’s none of your business. You are an inmate, not a cop.
The only exception to this rule that I can think of is if you genuinely feel that your life is in danger. In this case, the CO will have you moved to the hole. An investigation will follow. If you are lucky you will be moved to another institution. If you are not, the other inmate will be moved or it will be decided that there does not exist a sufficient threat. In both scenarios you will be placed back in general population where you will forever be labeled a rat.
Halfway through my stay, two men got into a fight and were both sent to the hole. Six weeks later, one of the men was returned to the unit. The other man did not return. The rumor quickly spread that the man who had returned had gone to the unit counselor saying that he feared for his life. This resulted in the other man, who was very well liked in the unit, being shipped to another institution. From then on, the man who had returned to the unit was labeled a rat and was completely ostracized. Most people stopped talking to him. Nearly every day, he found notes on his cube that read “RAT”, he was verbally abused and he was relegated to the far corner of the TV room. He was very lucky to avoid any physical violence.
Now, if his life was really in immediate danger, perhaps going to the counselor was the only action he could have taken-his resulting situation just an unfortunate reality of prison life. It is far more likely that he panicked and made a rash decision. And regardless, the entire situation could have been avoided altogether if he had not gotten into the fight in the first place.
2. Mind Your Own Business
You’ll often hear inmates refer to the term, “Do your own time”. This is the equivalent to “Mind your own business” and is absolutely paramount to avoiding trouble. In many ways, prison is like high school. A large group of people spend a lot of time together every day for years. Inevitably this leads to rumors, speculation and gossip.
Do not get involved. Aside from the fact that most of the information that floats around is patently false or greatly exaggerated, if you choose to pass gossip along you run the very real risk of being confronted by the inmate in question or of finding yourself in the middle of a heated argument. Avoid the hassle and steer clear of gossip and rumors.?? Further, due to the utter lack of privacy, you will constantly hear the conversations of other inmates. Do not make an active attempt to listen. Do not respond to what is being said. If you can’t help but to listen, make sure it is not obvious that you are doing so.
Along these same lines, be careful about asking too many questions about the personal or legal situation of other inmates as you will be suspected of being a rat. As my celly liked to say, “The more you know, the more you can tell”. The one question that is okay to ask is, “how much time you get?” You will be asked this constantly, especially when you first arrive. You’ll also notice that no one will ask you about your charges. It may seem like the most reasonable question in the world considering where you are, but it is a cardinal sin. You’ll find that over time as you get to know the other inmates, many will share their stories with you. This is fine. But you never ask.
Finally, when you are walking around the unit, absolutely do not look into the cubes or cells of other inmates. You will be suspected of being a thief or a pervert and likely quickly confronted.
3. Never get too Comfortable
Believe it or not (and it will likely be hard to believe your first few weeks), eventually you will get to know a number of other inmates, you will fall into a regular routine and you will get used to your new home. Prison life will begin to seem quite normal. This is good.? But never let yourself get too comfortable. By this I mean, never let your guard down. Always remember where you are. Don’t say too much. Don’t ask too much. Don’t call undue attention to yourself.
In many ways, prison mirrors mainstream society. Over time, certain rules, spoken and unspoken have developed. These rules serve to dictate acceptable inmate behavior and maintain order. Those who disregard the rules are ostracized or confronted by members of the community. The one major difference of course is that in prison there is nowhere to hide and nowhere to go and try to start again. For that reason, it is vital that you understand and adhere to the inmate rules and the prison culture from day one.
Jonathan Richards is a former federal prison inmate. His report on surviving federal prison including all Twelve Golden Rules of Prison Etiquette is available at http://www.federal-prison.org
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By Robert Davis
Greetings to all again;
I was asked by a loyal reader this question. He assured me he was not planning to commit a crime. He only thought if he was ever arrested by a rogue cop, or a couple of simple charges were placed against him and he had to go to jail,? he wanted to know what to do or not to do until he made bond. That’s a fair question.
First understand this, in a jail environment all? social issues and norms don’t apply. You are literally in what could be a dangerous environment.? So here are a few proven tips.
1)? Don’t walk in jail trying to make friends. Don’t introduce yourself, don’t extend your hands to shake another inmates’? hands.
2)? Don’t ask an inmate for anything. This means don’t ask for a cigarette, pencil or pen, food, nothing.
Believe me, you’ll? pay back more than you borrowed. This could be in the form of sexual favors, etc.
3)? Don’t stare at other inmates.
4)? Don’t be the first to say anything.
5) Find a space or corner of the jail that no one has claim, and sit there.
Things to do.
1)? Do walk in as if you’ve been there before. Inmates will sense a first timer and try to intimidate you. The inmates refer to this new inmate and his circumstances as ‘ being in his first rodeo’.
2)? If asked a question or if small talk is started by another inmate , by all means conversate, but only about that issue. This is also the perfect moment to say, ‘this is not my first rodeo’. Tell them you’ve been in jail five times or more!
3)? Get most of your sleep in the daylight hours, stay awake most of the night (most attempts of rapes occurs late at night ). The guards patrol more in the daylight.
4)? A follow up to the last sentence. It’s rare to be assaulted in a jail. Much more common in a state prison.
So don’t worry excessively about assaults of this nature.
5)? And finally, be the inmate that rarely speaks, that’s always daydreaming, that’s a little weird (talk to yourself if you must, OUT LOUD). Pace the floor.? Inmates are usually scared and afraid of someone who seems to have slight mental problems. They understand that this kind of person may harm them.
Listen, I don’t wish for? anyone to become incarcerated, but if for some odd reason you find yourself in this predicament, think only about surviving. Read my book COP OUT, an learn many more things.
Your friend, Robert
This author submits professional articles to http://www.ezinearticles.com? His articles informs citizens about how to handle different situations when confronted by the police. The authors’ personal mission in life is to expose all rogue and unfair police officers.
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