There’s no set procedure for contacting an attorney. Unlike on TV, there is no constitutional right to a phone call. Law enforcement agents will often allow people to make a phone call to a friend or to try to call their lawyer in an effort to get them to talk to law enforcement. If you get arrested at 3:00 in the morning and you try to call your lawyer and you can’t reach them, sometimes people will think that since they cannot get in contact with an attorney, maybe they should talk to law enforcement. It’s never a good idea to talk to law enforcement. It will only get you in trouble.
Also, law enforcement will often try and listen in on the phone call. They’ll be sitting there and listening to what you say so it’s not really a good idea to try and talk to your attorney in front of a law enforcement agent.
Now, there are some times where law enforcement will let people try and talk to an attorney, they reach an attorney, and hopefully the attorney will tell the person not to say anything to anybody.
Once someone has been arrested, and attorney is contacted, the first thing the attorney will say is to not say anything to anybody, don’t speak, don’t say a word. Again, it cannot help you. It can only hurt you. No one can talk their way out of being charged, no matter what you say at that stage of the proceeding.
Then the next step in the process is to begin gathering information from family, friends, and the client to help make the best release argument possible for the first court appearance.
An attorney will gather as many records as possible to help make that argument. In other words, if we’re talking about employment, then here is a year’s worth of pay stubs for the client.
If living arrangements are an issue, An attorney will want to be able to say to a judge, “I’ve spoken with my client’s family and here are three family members that are willing to have the client stay at their place of residence; none of them work and I’ve verified that.” They can stay and be in the house when the client is in the house to make sure that there is no unauthorized internet access.
Also, if a judge is going to require a bond, to identify assets that could be used to ensure that someone is going to appear, for example, real estate.
In addition, even before a person is brought to court, if they have a passport, an attorney would try and take possession of that passport so they can say to a judge and prosecutor that they have the passport in their possession, removing any possibility of the person fleeing the country. The lawyer will be happy to present that passport to a probation officer or what is called a pretrial services worker, who can hold on to it. Either way, you’re trying to remove any possible areas of concern that a judge might have about risk of flight and dangerousness of the client.