Pattaya Daily News

27 August 2008 :: 16:08:46 pm 20471

How to help a friend who gets arrested in the middle of the night

It is 2 AM and someone you know has just been arrested. You know you need legal help. You do not want your friend to make a confession, be in a line-up, or even get fingerprinted if it can be avoided. It is tough to know what to do or who to trust. Moreover, you do not know who will even answer the phone at that time of day. Here is what you need to know if this happens in Pattaya.?
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1. Find out where they are being held and by what police station. Whether you get the call from a police officer or your friend, make sure that this is the first thing you ask. If you can, tell your friend that you are finding a lawyer and not to answer any compromising police questions until that lawyer arrives. In short, the ‘name, rank, and serial number’ response will do fine. They should always cooperate, but the less said until a lawyer arrives, the better. Anything they say, even to you over the phone, can be used against them in court, and having a lawyer present as a defense mediation between them and the police is essential. Your friend must immediately say, “I want a lawyer” and the police cannot interrogate him (and don’t take the lawyer who was recommended by friendly police, who was hanging around him with a helpful face). Just keep saying “I want a lawyer”even if he has to repeat this again and again, it will save him from saying something that may be used against him in court. And don’t try to speak Thai because your Thai can never be good enough to understand what they are talking about, especially in this matter.

2. Ask what the actual charge is, and do not let them try to tell you what happened. The call is not privileged and it can, and probably will, be recorded by police for later use. If the arrested is an adult, the police are not required to tell a friend or family member anything.

3. Advise them to tell the officer they will not answer questions or take tests without a lawyer present. Tell them not to make any statements about any alleged offenses and tell them not to take any tests, with the exception of alcohol screening tests (see warnings), unless or until they get advice from a lawyer. Only the arrested subject can invoke his rights; you can not do it for them.

4. Find a criminal defense attorney. Keep calling lawyers you know or have their name cards until you find one that either answers their phone or has an answering service that can reach them anytime, day or night.

5. Tell the lawyer that your friend is arrested and give him the address of the Police Station, and as much information as you know. Many lawyers say, they will do this for free, but may request payment later of at least $100-$300 for that call.

6. Pay the lawyer in court and to post bail. A lot of people prefer to pay the police, remember it can never be ended!!. It is more important to get a good lawyer on the case early than to immediately get your friend out of jail.


 

TIPS

? Most minor crimes and traffic violations can be bailed out from the police station through the use of a desk appearance ticket or a desk sergeant’s bail.

? Tell the lawyer you found that you will need his services for the purpose of securing your friend’s rights only for the night in question and possibly the next day at arraignment if that is scheduled; do not sign a long-term retainer without the accused’s participation.

? Any legal fee for standing in at arraignment should be either a flat fee, don’t pay hourly rate. Discuss the fee clearly and put it on writing.

? At the arraignment, (the formal reading of criminal charges, and entering the plea), you do not have to use the lawyer that helped originally. If the accused cannot afford to hire a lawyer, a public defender will be appointed to represent them. Often the best and most knowledgeable lawyers in the courthouse will be the public defenders, though they will invariably be the busiest as well, and will not be able to offer your friend as much time as a private attorney will. Your friend will probably be best served by hiring a private attorney, however, a public defender will be available if that is impossible. Avoid hiring lawyers who solicit you in the courthouse hallways!

? If you run into trouble finding out where your friend is being held and by what police station ( Pattaya, Sattahip, Banglamung, Dongtan) it depends where your friend was arrested.

? Remember, the best way to help with the problems associated with being arrested is to avoid the arrest in the first place. Keep out of fights, drink responsibly, drive responsibly, and help friends do so as well.

? This is a terribly embarrassing time. Keep the information on a need to know basis. Don’t call friends or co-workers of the jailed friend. If the friend will miss work because of the incarceration, you may want to consider asking your friend for their manager’s email or phone number and determine if they want the boss informed of the situation. If it is a secret, you should determine the most appropriate “reason” for your friends absence from work.

? Consider calling their parents, especially if you cannot or chose not to get involved. If your friend has an alcohol or drug problem, they may be trying to avoid parents. The parents may also be willing to assist you with the financial burden of getting your friend out of jail. They may choose to remain anonymous to avoid embarrassment.


Warnings

? In Pattaya, you have a very limited time or no right at all to contact a lawyer regarding alcohol testing. Also, refusal to take an alcohol test carries the same penalty as a test failure. Failure to submit to an alcohol screening test, in some states, will result in an automatic suspension of your driver’s license, since agreeing to take those tests was a condition of receiving your license. On the other hand, the person arrested may have a good reason not to permit a blood test, (e.g., presence of other substances in blood), as losing driving privileges might not be the biggest worry. Never ask the police for advice; they are paid to be against the arrested person. Get a lawyer on the phone as quickly as possible and ask him.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : PDN staff   Category : Legal

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