The 2:00 a.m. phone call from jail


phone I’m on call this week. Like doctors, the lawyers in our practice share rotating call duty for after-hours emergencies. Last night my kids and my clients conspired to keep me awake until 3:00 a.m.

My client’s mother was profusely apologetic for calling in the middle of the night, but I assured her – and you, my gentle readers – that’s what you’re supposed to do when you get a phone call from the jail.  Just like in the ER, many of the emergencies can be resolved with information and investigation.

Her son’s case was highly unusual. Several years ago we successfully obtained a dismissal related to his burglary of a vehicle charge. However, when he was pulled over by a police officer in Dallas this morning, there was a warrant for his arrest relating to the same charge in 2007. This was impossible: there couldn’t be a warrant on a case that was dismissed. There had to be an error in the Travis County Sheriff’s warrant.

It’s hard to be patient when your child is in jail, but we talked about the cost-benefit analysis of hiring a bail bondsman at 3:00 a.m. and spending nearly $1,000.00 to get him out of jail. Both of us agreed that it would be a better financial investment to wait until I could travel to the Travis County Misdemeanor Clerk’s office when it opened, and meet with the judge to resolve the issue instead of paying a bail bondsman.

By 8:30 a.m. we figured out the problem, and shortly thereafter the Judge signed a warrant recall card.

There’s nothing more frustrating than being wrongfully arrested – unless you also have to spend $1,000.00 to undo somebody else’s mistake.

It was a late night for all of us, and we’re still not sure how it happened, but I’m glad she called me at 2:00 a.m. It was exactly the right time to call.

(image via flickr)

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