Best Ways To Help A Family Member In Criminal Trouble

It can be hard to watch your family member go through any kind of criminal trouble. It’s hard, though, to have a direct impact on whether or not their legal troubles will have an impact on their futures. You can make a huge impact on their lives, now, though. Below are a few of the best ways to help a family member who might be in criminal trouble. 

Don’t Be Ashamed

Given that nearly half of all adults in the US have an incarcerated family member, it’s important to start your process of helping your family member by getting over your own personal shame. You don’t need to make your family member feel any more guilty about the charges, especially if you want to be there to help. The truth is that your family member already knows that things are wrong and how his or her life will be impacted, so that’s not something you need to do. Instead, try to remember that this person is still a member of your family.

Don’t Play Lawyer

If you want to help a family member who is in trouble with the law, it’s important that you stay out of the legal aspects of the case. You don’t need to speculate about the legal ramifications of the charges, nor do you need to second-guess what your family member has been told by his or her lawyer. Your job is to be a supporter, not an active player. This is doubly true if you are an actual attorney, as you should already be aware that you probably don’t have access to all of the facts of the case.

Do Help Find Representation

It can be difficult to find a lawyer if you are already in jail. As such, family members can play an important role by helping to find a good attorney. You certainly don’t need to be the person who pays for representation, but you can do the background research to help out your family member when he or she is unable to do so on their own. Take some time to look at lawyers who have dealt with similar charges and those who have a successful record. With luck, you can put your incarcerated family member in contact with someone who can help them get the representation they deserve. 

Provide a Sounding Board

While it’s not a good idea for you to offer your opinions about what’s going on legally, you can still play a very important role as a sounding board for your relative. Be the person who is there to let the other party vent without any kind of judgment. If he or she directly asks what you think, feel free to be honest. Otherwise, though, let your family member vent. You might be one of the few people who will actually listen to him or her as a person, so make yourself available whenever you can. 

Encourage Following the Rules

It’s always a good idea to keep your family member on the straight and narrow when he or she is awaiting trial. Simply being available to drive him or her to court or to remind him or her of court dates can play a huge role in keeping your relative on the right path. You don’t need to nag the other party, but it can be a good idea to make yourself available so that he or she isn’t tempted to make bad decisions. 

Pick up the Slack

Finally, try to be there to pick up the slack that comes from being unavailable in daily life. Be a volunteer to help with childcare or to pick up groceries. Offer to drive your family member if he or she has a suspended license or a place to stay the night before if you live close to the courthouse. You don’t have to do everything for your family member, but helping with the little things will prove that you still care. 

Always remember to keep your connection with any family member who is in any criminal trouble. Treating him or her like a person instead of a criminal is a great way to keep his or her spirits up during these trying times. Though you can’t predict the future, you can let your family member know that you will always be there. 

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