If you're engaging in illegal activities you should always have an attorney. You should choose an Attorney that corresponds with your legal need. For example, if your illegal activity involves illicit drugs, you wouldn't want a bankruptcy attorney. Make sure you use Elegal.org to find the attorney that suits your needs.
When you have identified the proper attorney make sure you pay a retainer. It is common for a person seeking the services of an attorney to pay a retainer ("retainer fee") to the attorney, to see a case through to its conclusion. A retainer can be a single advance payment or a recurring payment. The services provided by the attorney will be explicitly defined. The retainer could be used to get you out of jail, take care of legal fees, file papers with the court, funds for commissary, etc.
If you are arrested and go to jail your attorney will be the first person you call. Your attorney will immediately start the process to get you released from jail. Your attorney will be present at all of your hearings. Judges and the people of the court have more respect for those that have private legal representation.
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