Seeing a family member being arrested is one of the most jarring things one can ever face. Nobody ever prepares themselves to see this kind of a reality. However, it is one that might affect them.

In such situations, family members may feel afraid, confused, concerned – or all of the three and more – all of which is a normal response. But it is also important to rise above it all and be able to help the arrested person in their time of need. Having an action plan can help them navigate such situations and help the arrested while keeping their sanity intact.


Below we will list a 7-step plan for how families can deal with one of their own being arrested

Step 1: Keep calm and collect as much information as possible

In a situation such as this, keeping calm sounds like the most impossible thing to do. But for the sake of everyone concerned, it is something that needs to be done. Remember that knowledge is power – so start with putting all of your focus on collecting as much information as you possibly can about the details related to the arrest – specifically, when and where it happened and what the police have charged the family member with. Having this information at hand will help inform legal aid of the circumstances and the exact chain of events, which will eventually help build a better case.

Step 2: Get in touch with your attorney

Having sound, professional legal representation is of course non-negotiable. By hiring an attorney (preferably one with years of experience), you can get the much-needed legal guidance that can help you come up with a sound strategy for defense and protect the rights of your family member. When hiring an attorney, make sure that they have dealt with cases similar to yours and are well-versed in matters of criminal law. Word-of-mouth, internet reviews or a combination of the two can easily help you in this regard.

Step 3: Be a source of support, emotionally

It is traumatizing for you to see your dear family member arrested – however, you should understand that it is even more traumatizing for the person who has been arrested. Make sure to offer the right kind of emotional help to them while putting their needs above your own. Ensure that you listen with empathy, be a good listener, and do not let your prejudices come through. Remember, what might seem as a simple supportive gesture on your end could do wonders to ease their burdens.

Step 4: Have a thorough understanding of legal proceedings

The legal and especially criminal justice systems are ones with intricate complexities – ones that can be hard to understand at a first glance. It is therefore all the more important that you gain a thorough understanding of the basics i.e. terms and legal proceedings that are connected with the arrest process. This will allow you to take informed actions and throughout – right from the arraignment to the court trial, and even beyond.

Step 5: Address practical issues

There are multiple practical aspects to dealing with your family member getting arrested – and as a near-and-dear on the outside it is your job to address them. The first of these is the bail itself – make sure to know the difference between what a bail and a bond is – and take your finances into order.

Once the bail has been set, take a long hard look at your monetary situation. In the event that you see your current finances being inadequate, make sure to evaluate any chances you may have for financing. Remember that no matter the amount of funds at your disposal, there will be some financial constraints stemming from having to make such a big expense in the face of having to pay daily bills.

Make sure to also have cash in-hand for attorney and other legal fees, as well as any expenses you may incur while running errands.

Step 6: Deal with the authorities diplomatically

Communicating with the police and/or authorities is inevitable – so when you do, make sure that you do so respectfully and with full cooperation. Do not shy away from asserting the rights of your family member, but do keep away from confronting them. Remember, what you say will affect your family member’s case.

Step 7: Opt for extra support if you need it

In a situation as stressful as this, you might be in need of extra support – not just for the arrested but also for yourself. This might be in the form of getting emotional care and support for you and the family at large, or getting help with understanding the judicial system. You can also find support in support groups, community services as well as counselors who can help manage emotions and mental health.

To conclude…

Seeing your family member get arrested is a heartbreaking experience. In the face of such a jarring situation, it is best to be calm, collect as much information as possible, find a good lawyer, offer support and care, get an understanding of the judicial process, address practical matters with haste, be diplomatic, and to not be afraid to find extra support for oneself.

Times can get tough, but having sound advice and knowledge-based actions, along with solid legal representation and a good support group can help you attain the outcome you want.