If You Are Arrested: What Should You Do?

If you are arrested, you are allowed one phone call. It is important that you call the CIEE 24-hour Emergency Line at 1.888.268.6245 to notify us of your situation. You can also call CIEE collect at 207.553.4000 and ask to speak with someone in the Support Department. We will update your representative and family members in your home country immediately. You should let CIEE know the name and contact information of the jail where you are being held, what the charges are against you, and the date of your court hearing. CIEE will maintain direct and constant communication with your host organization, home country CIEE representative, and family.

Please remember that breaking a U.S. law or being arrested may affect your employment as well as your CIEE program. Please follow our safety tips and abide by all U.S. and local laws while you are on the program. If you have questions or issues, contact CIEE immediately.

You Will Have The Same Rights As U.S. Citizens If Accused Of A Crime:

  • You have the right to be represented by a lawyer, and to be provided with a lawyer to represent you if you cannot afford to hire one.
  • You have the right to know the crime you are being charged with.
  • You have the right to remain silent and to refuse to answer any questions if you so choose.
  • No person accused of a crime may be forced to confess or give evidence against themselves.
  • You have the right not to be searched unless the police officer has a warrant.
  • You are entitled to be released from jail upon posting of a bail bond (money paid to ensure that the person reports for trial) set by the court while you await trial.
  • You are entitled to a fair trial conducted according to all the rules of evidence and court procedures.
  • Above all, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty. You do not have to prove your innocence, but rather the prosecution must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

If you are accused of committing a crime, the best advice in most circumstances is to talk to a CIEE staff member before you answer any questions regarding charges. CIEE can advise about the availability of free or low-cost legal services in your area.

If you are arrested, the following may happen:

  • You could be charged with a crime and fingerprinted.
  • You could be held in jail until bail is posted.
  • You could see a court judge who hears preliminary details and drops the charges against you or sets a court date within the next 30 days. Sometimes court dates can be set sooner, especially if you remind the judge that you are only legally able to stay in the U.S. until your expected date of departure (program end date).
  • Depending on the charges, you may have to stay in the area in order to attend your court date.

If you are found guilty of a crime, possible penalties include:

  • Monetary fine
  • Community service
  • Jail time
  • Deportation

Posting Bail

Whenever you are arrested and charged, a judge will decide how much bail you must pay for your release pending trial. Bail is a deposit that must be paid to ensure your appearance at the set trial date. Your bail is determined by the severity of your crime. If you are unable to pay your full bail, bondsmen can be hired to cover this cost. CIEE can advise you on the procedures of paying your own bail or, if necessary, help you contact a local bail bondsman.

For example, if the court sets your bail at $500 and you do not have that much money available, a bail bondsman will charge you about 10% (in this case $50). The bondsman will pay the remaining $450 towards your bail, and will keep your $50 as his fee.

Failure to appear at your assigned court date will result in the loss of the bail money, which has been posted by you or the bondsman. If you used a bail bondsman, you will owe him the full fee. Failure to appear in court may also increase the severity of charges against you, may go on your permanent record, and may negatively affect the process of applying for a visa to come to the U.S. in the future.