How many times in my career have I seen a defendant, after being released from jail on bail, completely undermine their own case and defense with a simple mistake? Do not be that person; do not let your loved one make that mistake.
Ignorance Is No Excuse: You Will Be Told What Comes Next
Before you are allowed to leave the jail or courthouse after your arraignment hearing, you will be given paperwork to sign. This information includes your next court date, when and where it will happen, your charges, and any other additional steps requested or required by the law. It will also include a list of things not to do.
You have to sign that paper to leave, so the law assumes you have read, understood, and memorized all the information therein (you will most likely get a copy; your attorney will certainly insist on one). As a result, if you break those conditions or fail to meet those requirements later, you will not be able to argue you did not know. But just in case you have already forgotten, or so that you can prepare yourself or your loved one for these crucial weeks or months of waiting, I have gathered the most important elements in this chapter.
The One Mistake You Cannot Afford To Make After Being Released
It might seem obvious, but for the love of freedom, DO NOT commit any crimes while out on bail. Part of your bail condition is avoiding unlawful activities and staying out of trouble. If you even so much as refuse a future DUI breath test or fail to make a court date or hearing, you are likely to be brought back to jail for violating the conditions of your release. At best, you will get a fine and sanction. At worst, you will go straight to jail until your next court date.
Do boring, legal, and straightforward activities: stay home instead of going out. Go to your work or school; don’t party, drink, do drugs, or commit any crimes. You are already on thin ice. Don’t jump up and down.
The Easiest Mistakes To Make After Being Released On Bail
Perhaps the most common mistake I see clients making these days involves a new player on the scene: social media. It can be incredibly natural to want to talk and share your harrowing experience or temporary escape from justice. Do not do this.
If your friends can see what you post on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Or X (formerly known as Twitter), you can bet prosecutors can, too. Law enforcement will comb through your social media, and you do not want to give them anything to work with.
Let us say you are arrested with a gun charge of some sort, and your defense was that you do not own any guns. But now the prosecution sees you posting selfies with your gun: bam, straight to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200. Such a post would be a clear violation of the conditions of your release. Not to mention undermining your defense and providing evidence to be used against you.
If possible, discuss the details of your case and arrest with no one, especially not on social media. There is one exception, however: your lawyer.
Use Your Precious Time And Freedom To Work With Your Attorney
Remember that phone number from a few pages back? Have you memorized it yet? Write it down here: (425) ____ – _______.
During this fortunate period of freedom, you should be carefully listening to and following the advice of your attorney. An experienced defense attorney knows what to do to improve your chances of getting off entirely or reducing your charges or ultimate sentence. So get in touch with your criminal defense attorney and listen to their advice.
Never Underestimate The Impact Of A Skilled And Determined Defense Attorney
If your attorney is good, they will already be working hard to find a solution that involves the least burden on you, your freedom, and your family. Early negotiations with prosecutors, for example, are a frequent path to a better outcome. Prosecutors do not really want to send most people to prison – and they really want to avoid a fight that will make them look bad.
Take this story for example: I had a case with a 16-year-old teenager who shoplifted from Target. The prosecutor wanted the kid to take it seriously but did not want to charge them, not really. So, we worked out a deal. He had to do some community service and a few other conditions, and the charges were dismissed. Your diversion options will not always be so easy, but if that kid didn’t have an attorney on his side, he could have ended up doing prison time with a permanent record.
Sometimes, you can even start preparing your later defense during this period. For charges relating to drugs or alcohol, you can enroll in addiction programs, for example, which you can later point to as evidence of your sincere commitment to avoiding any repeat offenses. Obviously, your chances and options will depend on what you are charged with, and who you are facing as prosecution, but a skilled attorney will always have some ideas to implement to pursue easier alternatives for everyone.
For guidance on What To Do After Being Released On Bail, contacting a criminal defense attorney is vital if you have not already done so. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (425) 276-7390 today.
 Need a hint? It’s printed on the back of the book.