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Your Spouse Just got Arrested for a Crime: What Should You Be Doing Now?

If your spouse has been arrested, you might feel understandably shocked and frightened. After these initial feelings fade, it’s essential to take immediate action to help your spouse preserve their rights and get back home. Here are five specific steps to take.

If you are present when your spouse is arrested.

1. Keep your spouse calm.

Getting arrested is frustrating, but aggressive behavior never, ever helps the situation. Try to stay calm, and keep your spouse steady as well. Reassure them that you will find help, and remind them that they could make matters much worse if they don’t remain composed, as difficult as it may be.

2. Remind them to avoid speaking.

Your spouse has the constitutional right to remain silent when being questioned by the police. It’s crucial to exercise this right–it’s too easy to accidentally say something that would be harmful to the case, even if they think they’re being helpful. If your spouse begins to speak about anything other than necessary identity information, remind them that it’s critical to keep quiet until they can talk to a lawyer.

3. Ask the police what the charges are.

To help your spouse avoid unnecessary conversation with the police, try to find out the charges against your spouse or any other information that may be relevant.

4. Contact a lawyer.

If your spouse has a lawyer, call immediately. Find out how soon the lawyer can come to the holding facility. If your spouse doesn’t have a lawyer or can’t afford one, then remind them that a judge on the case will assign a public defender–and that they shouldn’t respond to police questions until they have one.

5. Arrange to post bail.

Once the police have processed your spouse, you may be permitted to post bail (if required) to release them from jail. In Indiana, most counties have a bail schedule for non-violent crimes and misdemeanors. Ask the police whether and what kind of bond is required to release your spouse, and gather the funds if you have them. If you don’t have the money and can’t borrow from family or friends, call a bail bond agent.

If you are not present at the arrest.

If you aren’t with your spouse at the arrest, complete the five steps above to the extent possible. The main difference is that you will likely be speaking to your spouse on the telephone. While on the phone, try to keep them calm and remind them of their rights.

Also, remind them that the police are almost certainly monitoring the call, and that they should avoid sharing anything personal or discussing the case. For this reason, you should keep the call as brief as possible. The shorter the conversation, the less likely your spouse is to accidentally reveal information that the police might use for their purposes.

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