Family caregivers play an important role if your loved one is in trouble with the law in Arizona and elsewhere.
No matter who you are or what your mental state, an arrest is a traumatic experience. It’s considerably worse for people with mental health issues. An arrest can trigger a mental health crisis. The defendant might not have medication and no idea how to react to an arrest.
How Family Caregivers Can Help After an Arrest in Arizona
Family caregivers can be invaluable if a loved one is in trouble with the law. The National Alliance on Mental Illness points out family members should act fast after the arrest of a relative with a mental illness.
Police will not always tell you where a family member is being held. You can use an online jail locator to track down a loved one.
If you know which jail your loved one is being held in, you should make sure he or she has their proper medication. Sudden withdrawal from medication can exacerbate mental health problems and trigger a crisis.
If your family member has not informed the jail staff about his or her condition, the caregiver should contact his doctor or psychiatrist as soon as possible.
You may have to contact a doctor in writing. Some medical professionals are concerned about sharing information with jail staff. Caregivers should stress the urgency of the situation. Make the request succinct. Stress the following:
- The diagnosis of your loved one
- What type of medication he or she takes
- The caregiver’s contact information
- Information relating to your family member’s doctor.
A caregiver should aim to visit a loved one who is in trouble with the law as soon as possible. If the family member appears at a bail hearing, it’s important to attend and provide funds for the defendant to make bail if possible.
The caregiver can also arrange for the mentally ill family member to receive legal representation.
Be persistent in tracking down an attorney and look for a lawyer with a long track record in defending people with mental illnesses.
Going to court and giving as much background as possible about your loved one to an attorney can help secure his or her release. Ask the attorney about pre-trial release or jail diversion programs that could be beneficial.
It’s also important for the caregiver to make sure a family member is not being mistreated in jail. Inform the attorney of any mistreatment and consider contacting organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
Family caregivers play a vital role after a family member gets into trouble with the law in Arizona. Working with an attorney can be extremely helpful. Please contact our Phoenix-based criminal defense lawyer today.