What to do when your mentally ill friend, sibling, child, or ward gets into criminal trouble?

A. FIND OUT WHERE THE PERSON IS.
Find out what county the person is in and if they are in custody.
Find out what the arresting agency is.
Find out what they are charged with and what the bond amount is.
Find out if they have been appointed counsel.
Find out where their case has been assigned.

B. Contact the jail’s medical section and let them know what medication the person regular takes and ask to help them by getting the necessary documents. They will allow you to talk to them regardless of whether or not there is a signed consent.

C. Contact the Appointed Counsel if there is one or find a good criminal defense lawyer, if one has not been appointed, and vet them for their experience with mentally ill defendants. If they are good, they will know the resources that the system has available.
Even so, it never hurts to make suggestions.
Resources: Mental Health Probation,
Mental Health Diversion,
Insanity Provisions,
Fitness Provisions,
Mental Illness as a Sentencing Mitigating Factor.

D. Remember, very rarely if ever, are charges just dropped because you want them dropped. Don’t look like a fool or you will lose credibility with the prosecutor, defense lawyer, or judge.

E. Go to Court if you can to help to reassure your loved one. Even the most stable person will feel abandoned if in custody. Seeing you in court will help them not feel lost. They may need you as a character witness.

F. Visit them. Learn the rules of the institution before you go, then go. You don’t need to create a fuss when you go or get busted. Report to the Lawyer any changes in their affect or mental status.

G. Help the person with their post-jail plan. They will need help on deciding where to live and what programs to go to. Even if they are acquitted, they will need your help afterwards or they will end up in crisis or in the criminal justice system again.