When Friends Or Family Get In Criminal Trouble!

This is Dennis Boren, criminal defense attorney and former felony prosecutor. Today, I want to talk to you about something really important. What should you do if a friend or family member gets in criminal trouble? Now this can literally happen to anybody because it doesn’t involve your actions. It involves someone you care about. This happens all the time.


First, please know that nothing good happens when you talk to the police about potential criminal issues when you’re the one who’s the focus of the investigation. Now, obviously, if they’re looking for a lost person or you’re reporting a crime, you’re a victim, so of course, you should talk to police.

However, when you are engaged by the police, don’t talk, and just say politely, “I like to speak to my attorney before we have any conversation.” You really need to get this recorded, audio or video, just turn on your smartphone, and do this. It’s called invoking, that means asking for an attorney.


It’s part of the Miranda rights, but you have those rights before you’re read the rights. You know that you have the right to have counsel. What that does, it means that anything that may be said or the fruits of any future interrogation or questions to you would not be admissible.


On the other hand, if you blurt out answers or just say things, what’s called sua sponte, which means out of the blue, without being asked a question, they can use that. So I need to tell you to shut up. Quit talking. Even if you’re not the one getting in trouble, this is what I’m talking about here.

You need to make sure that your loved ones know these things as well. Typically teenagers and above, young adults, they should not be talking to police after they’re focus of an investigation.


You also need to call an attorney. I believe that it needs to be somebody that emphasizes or practices criminal law and has 10 plus years of experience. The reason for that is that they need to know the judges. They need to know the prosecutors.

Because one thing, right off the bat, is that when somebody’s sitting in jail, there’s going to be a bond. Here in Texas it’s called being magistrate. That’s generally a low level judge that operates like a justice of peace, and they’re going to have a recommendation for the prosecutor’s office about what the bond ought to be.


Usually, they’re very unimaginative, and they just do whatever the recommendation is for the prosecutor’s office, and often it’s ridiculous. And you end up paying a lot more money than you would have to pay.

An attorney who knows the judges and knows how this works can often get a bond set at a reasonable amount. Of course, bonds are set based on the seriousness of the offense and the defendant’s or potential defendant’s ties to the community. This includes how long they’ve lived here, and things like that.

So if you have questions about this or related issues, you need to reach out to me. I’d be happy to talk to you about them. And I hope this information was helpful.

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