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Common Client Reactions To Being Arrested And Prosecuted For A Crime

Interviewer: What have you learned about people’s biggest fear and their reaction to being arrested and prosecuted for a crime? What sort of human insight can you give for the whole process?

Matthew Murillo: There is a“scared straight” program that is basically designed to bring people in, usually teens, to scare them into behaving well.  It shows them what jail is like, what the legal process is like.  That’s basically how this is.  I think that’s how most people react, they’re embarrassed because they were arrested.  Sometimes they don’t know how to react, they have to go to court, face the judge, scared to have their family or friends find out. Many times, I’ve had people choose to start attending AA meetings voluntarily, out of fear they may develop a substance abuse problem, even if they have no past history of abuse or an issue, many also choose to just avoid alcohol altogether after being arrested.

It is Important for An Attorney to Facilitate Counseling or Rehabilitation Needed by the Client

One of my undergraduate degrees was in psychology and over the years I kind of learned to identify situations where there might be an alcohol dependency issue. When I think that’s clear, I will bring it up with that client because I’d rather help them address the court case, while address the underlying issue, and then help them move on in put them in the best position to be successful down the road, rather than having them end up in the same situation, or worse, down the road. I tell all my clients when the case is resolved; that I hope I never have to see them again. I mean that in the best way possible.  If that happens, it means they moved on, and they are doing well.

Public Knowledge of an Arrest for Criminal Charges in California

Interviewer: What publicity is there, generally,when people get arrested? Will work find out? Will friends and family find out?

Matthew Murillo:  No. Generally speaking, even though the process itself is public, most people that go to court are either family of other people who have cases pending against them. The court won’t disclose information to an employer on their own.  They won’t disclose information to friends or family.   In my office, we don’t disclose anything to anyone, expect for the court and the district attorney – and that is limited to only certain information to help in handling the case. But because we do have that confidentiality between ourselves and our Clients, anything the client tells us, would be confidential.  This means that we have no obligations to disclose it to anybody with very limited exception.

The Only Way an Employer Will Find out About a Person’s Arrest is if the Employee Informs Them

So, really, the only way an employer finds out, or a family member, is if the client tells them directly, which sometimes might be in the best interest of the Client.  If, for example, an employer has a handbook policy that says the employees must disclose any kind of arrests or any kind of vehicle code violations.  There are some situations where the individual should speak with their attorney about, prior to disclosing information and whether to disclose something like that. But generally speaking, nobody is going to find out, unless you tell them.

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