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What to do Before and After an Arrest for Homicide Takes Place

What to Do Before and After an Arrest for Homicide

Getting that late night call or knock on the door from law enforcement, saying your loved one is being held for homicide, is terrifying. Your mind races through possibilities, emotions swell, as you rush to the station. Once there, an officer confirms your worst fear – the one you care for deeply has been involved in another’s death. What do you do now?

First, breathe. Try to stay calm. You’ll get through this.

Second, call an attorney, immediately. Don’t say anything to law enforcement without legal counsel present. In Florida, contact a criminal defense attorney with experience in homicide cases, like John Doe or Jane Smith. They’ll protect your rights and build the best defense.

Until your lawyer arrives, don’t answer questions. Just say, “I’m invoking my right to remain silent until my attorney is present.” Be polite, but firm. Even minor statements can hurt your case later.

While waiting, write down everything you remember about your loved one’s whereabouts, mood, activities and interactions leading up to the incident. This helps your lawyer. But don’t discuss the case, even with family, without your attorney present.

Once retained, your lawyer will get details of the allegations, charges, evidence from police and prosecutors. They’ll explain your rights and options. With their guidance, decide whether your loved one should testify, seek a plea bargain or go to trial.

Your lawyer will also request bail, or release on recognizance (ROR), unless charges are very serious. They’ll argue to the judge that your loved one isn’t a flight risk or danger if released pre-trial. Be prepared to post bond or offer up property as collateral if bail is set.

Ask about visiting your loved one in jail. Follow rules on acceptable clothing, items brought, physical contact, etc. Visits help them emotionally endure incarceration pre-trial or after conviction.

Your lawyer will investigate the case thoroughly – interviewing witnesses, visiting the crime scene, reviewing evidence. They’ll look for inconsistencies or other suspects. If errors or constitutional rights violations are found, like improper searches or Miranda violations, they can get evidence thrown out.

If your loved one is innocent, the attorney will build a strong defense to win at trial. If guilty, they’ll seek a plea deal for reduced charges or sentencing leniency. Meet regularly with your lawyer to discuss strategy and progress.

Be respectful of the victim’s family, but avoid contact. Never discuss the case or offer opinions on your loved one’s guilt or innocence. Don’t post on social media about the case. Avoid press interviews. Anything you say publicly can be used against you.

Your lawyer may hire experts – forensic scientists, psychologists, investigators. Be prepared for trial expenses like these, though some may be court-covered. To ease financial stress, tap support groups, religious organizations and crowdfunding. But be wary of scams.

At trial, your lawyer will question jurors to weed out bias, present evidence and witnesses supporting innocence or mitigating circumstances, and undermine the prosecution’s case. They’ll prepare your loved one to testify effectively, if they choose to.

If convicted, your lawyer can request a suspended sentence or community service instead of prison. If incarcerated, they can appeal the verdict or sentence. Appeal chances improve if errors were made in the trial process.

Throughout, take care of yourself. The stress can shatter health and relationships. Seek counseling, lean on family and true friends. Forgive yourself if you lash out sometimes. This journey is tough, but you’ll make it through.

Dealing with a loved one’s homicide arrest is devastating. But with an experienced criminal defense lawyer guiding you, protecting your rights and fighting for the best outcome, you have a trusted advocate helping weather the storm. Stay strong, be patient, and keep the faith. This too shall pass.

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