Okay, first those “lawyerly” disclaimers: this is for people that are accused of an offense in Illinois only. Remember, I would love to represent you. But getting this information off my website does not mean that we have an Attorney-Client relationship. Don’t go to court and think you can represent yourself. Few people can ever do that.
Well, I am glad we got that out of the way.
Before it ever happens, have the name of a lawyer who practices Criminal Law in your wallet at all times. If you are in Northeast Illinois, you can ask me to be your lawyer. My name is Thomas Eric Ost and my number is (708) 554-4199. Print “my card” out and please put it in your wallet.
What to do first? Stop talking anything about the facts of the case and stop writing anything about the facts of the case for the police, store cops, security people or anyone else EXCEPT A LAWYER THAT HAS BEEN RETAINED FOR OR BY YOU OR A LAWYER APPOINTED TO REPRESENT YOU. Anyone else probably is not “your friend” at that moment and EVERYTHING you do can and will most likely be used against you. Even your friends can’t keep quiet if they are subpoenaed to testify against you. Your mom and dad also can’t keep quiet if they are subpoenaed to testify against you. Sometimes even your lawfully wedded spouse might have to testify against you (if they are considered a victim). Rarely do people ever talk their way out of something when they are sitting in a police lockup or in front of a bond court judge. So mum is the word; DO NOT MAKE STATEMENTS.
Good advice, but how do I stop the police from badgering me and coercing me into talking? Tell them politely, “Sir/Madam, I do not want to make any statements. I do not want to write anything or make any oral or video statements. I want to remain silent and exercise my 5th Amendment Rights to remain silent. I want a lawyer before saying or doing anything else. “ Since it really helps to name the lawyer, if you are in Northeast Illinois, you can ask me to be your lawyer. My name is Thomas Eric Ost and my number is (708) 554-4199—but I digress.
What happens after they decide to charge me? The police are either going to let you post bond (sometimes even on your signature only—it is called a recognizance bond or “I-Bond”) or they will transport you to a bond court which is typically at the Criminal Court Building for the county you are charged in. When you know, it is time to call your family or close friends to let them know where you are being taken to, and when the bond hearing is. Ask them to raise some money. Ask them to call a lawyer who practices Criminal Law so you have representation that can speak up for you in Bond Court so a reasonable bond can be set. If you are in Northeast Illinois, you can ask me to be your lawyer. My name is Thomas Eric Ost and my number is (708) 554-4199. Yes, I go to Bond Courts, and if I am awake, I answer my phone 24 hours a day if need be. I am a very light sleeper!