Attorney at Law


Following is a list of commonly asked questions about arrest:

1. My family member has been arrested and is in jail.

What happens next?

The District Attorney must charge the detainee with a crime and bring him or her before the court within 72 hours. If the detainee is not brought to court within the specified time period, the detainee must be released. However, the District Attorney may still bring charges at a later time. 

What about bail?

Bail is a financial guarantee that the accused will return to court for all future court hearings. If the accused fails to appear or misses a court date, then the bail money is forfeited, and an arrest warrant will be issued by the court. A bail amount is set at the time of arrest. In some instances a person can be held with no bail. A bail hearing is usually held a few days after the first court appearance. At that time, a judge may increase or reduce bail, or release the person on their own recognizance. If bail money has been paid to the court, it will be returned to the person who posted the bond following resolution of the case. If a bail bondsman is used, then the bondsman will charge a fee, usually 10% of the bail amount, which is not returned.

Can I visit?

You may contact the local jail staff to find out about visitation and telephone privileges. Inmates are allowed at least one free telephone call at the time of their arrest (this is usually a local call). After that, all calls are collect, often through a specific telephone company or service which will require an account be set up by the recipient to enable calls from an inmate. Sometimes this must be a prepaid account. Assume all conversations with a jail inmate are being recorded. It is never a good idea to discuss the allegations during any conversation with an inmate whether it is in person or on the telephone. Only an attorney is entitled to a private conversation with an inmate.

When should I hire an attorney?

The earlier in the process that an attorney becomes involved, the more he or she can do for you. Most criminal defense attorneys offer an initial consultation  at the jail for a nominal fee.

2. What can I do if I am not arrested, but the police want to talk to me?

  You are never required to give a statement to the police. If you think you may be under investigation it is not a good idea to talk to the police, even if you are innocent, until you’ve talked to an attorney who regularly practices criminal law. Consulting an attorney as soon as possible during an investigation or accusation process can help you avoid common mistakes and unnecessary problems down the road. It is best to consult an attorney at the first hint of trouble.

4. What do I do if I am told I am under arrest? 

If you are arrested, it is important that you cooperate with the police in a peaceful manner and remain calm. Listen to your rights when they are read to you. Remember especially that you have the right to remain silent, and you should assert that right.

You should not give a verbal or written statement until you have spoken with an attorney. You have the right to have an attorney present during any and all questioning. If you can’t afford an attorney, you may ask that the court appoint an attorney for you.

Do not volunteer information or attempt to “chat up” the police. They will write up anything that you say that they believe might help convict you.

If you are taken to jail it is extremely important that you refrain from discussing the circumstances surrounding your arrest with other inmates, friends or family who come to visit you or with people you talk to on the telephone. This is extremely important even if you are innocent. Assume that all conversations within the jail are recorded and will be used against you in court. Only your attorney has the right to confidential conversations with you while you are in jail.

5. Can I hire a private attorney after the court has appointed a public defender for me?

Absolutely. You have the right to hire a private attorney at any stage of the proceedings to either take over your case or to review the facts in your case and give you additional legal advice.

7. How much does it cost to retain an attorney?

Most attorneys offer an initial consult for a nominal fee and have office staff who will be glad to give you a rough estimate of the costs over the telephone before you make an appointment with the lawyer. The initial retainer will depend on the seriousness and complexity of your case. Additional fees may be required if your case proceeds through preliminary hearing or goes to jury trial. Your attorney should explain costs in detail with you at your first meeting and provide you with a clear contract outlining the amounts you must pay and when they will become due.

6. Are there additional fees or costs after I have retained an attorney? 

Your attorney will discuss fees with you at your first meeting and will give you a contract explaining not only his fees, but additional costs that may be incurred.

A typical additional expense could be hiring a private investigator to contact witnesses. Your attorney may recommend you hire a private investigator or other expert, but the decision whether to hire an expert is yours. Sometimes your attorney can compel the court to pay for the services of an expert if you do not have the ability to pay for expert services. This is true whether you have a private attorney or a public defender.

7. I am embarrassed to discuss the allegations against me. Can other people find out what I’ve discussed with my attorney? Is my attorney required to report to any other agency?

You are protected by attorney-client privilege when you consult an attorney. Any information your attorney has about you can only be released with your express permission. Your attorney’s staff and secretaries are also prohibited by law from releasing information about you or discussing your case with other people. Attorney’s are NOT mandated reporters regardless of the type of offense, including child sexual abuse allegations, or whether there is a warrant out for your arrest.

It will be necessary for you to give your attorney permission to discuss your case with a particular person if that is your wish. This is true even if the person is a close family member or has paid your attorney fees for you.

Choosing an experienced attorney such as Neal I. Sanders can help make you feel more comfortable discussing the details of your case. Keep in mind that whatever you say is held in strictest confidence and that your attorney can help you best if you give an honest straightforward account of your involvement.


8. I think there is a warrant out for my arrest. How do I find out? Will the warrant expire if I’m not caught? Where do I turn myself in?

A warrant can only be issued by a judge. An arrest warrant can be issued if you miss a court date or fail to complete the requirements of probation.  An arrest warrant can also be issued if you are suspected of being involved in a crime. A warrant will continue to be in effect until you are arrested or appear in court on the warrant, or until it is recalled by a judge. Warrants do not expire.

The court clerk can often tell you whether a warrant has been issued and schedule a date for your return to court. An attorney can minimize this stressful situation and an experienced attorney can usually give you an idea of what to expect in court and whether you are likely to be detained on the warrant. 

Neal I. Sanders
Attorney at Law
320 I Street
Eureka, California 95501

PHONE: 707-442-4200
FAX: 707-442-1650

Business Hours:

Mon-Thursday 8AM-5PM
Friday 8AM-noon

Closed daily from noon-1PM

Closed weekends and court holidays

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