You might not have ever thought that a relative would be facing a criminal trial, but if that has happened, you might be unsure of what you could be doing to make the situation better. If you've recently arranged bail for your relative, the following things could be helpful.
Discuss Different Outcomes
While everyone in your family hopes your relative will be found not guilty, their conviction is still a possibility. It is important to have a discussion about what will happen if they are indeed found guilty. For instance, they might file an appeal immediately afterwards; you might want to start saving money for that now, just in case. Everyone can be better able to handle whatever is next if there is a plan.
Don't Talk to People Involved in the Trial
Because of your desire to help your loved one, you may want to call possible witnesses or other defendants and discuss the situation or encourage them to help your relative. That can cause problems, as any interaction can lead to unintended behaviors and consequences which result in a worse situation. If you think someone can be helpful, notify your relative's attorney and let them handle it.
Practice Testimony or Write Reference Letter
Have you been called to testify? If so, it is vital that you meet with your relative's lawyer to talk about how you'll answer questions. Because you want your testimony to help your relative, you have to ensure your answers are clear and honest; practice what you'll say often.
If your relative's attorney does not want you to testify, you might be able to submit a reference letter to the court. A reference letter could affect the amount of time that your relative is ordered to serve in the event that they are found guilty. This kind of letter should include information and insight that only you have; for example, if you believe your relative's crime to be motivated by their childhood or unresolved feelings from past instances, you can put that in the letter. Your reference letter should work to convince the judge that a heavy sentence is unwarranted.
Get Them Out of the House
Sometimes, the best thing you can do for your relative is allow them to get their mind off of their legal problems. They may be afraid of what will happen during their trial, but being able to do something fun or engaging in activities they like can help give their mind a rest. Try to make plans at least once a week, if possible.
These are just a handful of things you can do to help our relative. For more helpful ideas, speak with their criminal defense lawyer.