FUNDING AND SUPPORT
If you were arrested at an action resisting the Dakota Access pipeline near Standing Rock and you need help accessing resources, we are here for you.
We have a team of organizers working round the clock to help you protect yourself from state repression, travel to your court dates, find a place to stay, secure a good attorney to represent you, and navigate the complicated legal process. We have funding to help you if you can't pay for it yourself. We can connect you to other water protectors and support strategies of solidarity and defense. We are behind the scenes, making sure you have the information and resources you need to take control of your own legal situation. To access our funding and support services, please fill out this brief form:
The next step is getting the information you need. We built this wiki page specifically for water protectors. It is the best place to start looking for answers to all of your legal questions.
In addition, these external resources have a wealth of information about legal rights, security, and interactions with law enforcement.
Know your rights when interacting with police. 10 basic ways to flex your rights.
Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) in-depth Know Your Rights booklet “If an Agent Knocks.”
Online resource for activists and others to protect their digital information made available from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
TILTED SCALES ZINE
A zine version of the Tilted Scales Collective book, “The Criminal Legal System for Radicals: Setting and Balancing Personal, Political, and Legal Goals.”
OVERVIEW OF THE LEGAL PROCESS
This is an overview of the process water protectors may go through when they are arrested. This may vary depending on your circumstances and charges.
TRANSPORT TO JAIL
Most arrestees are transported to Morton County to be held and have their cases heard. Sometimes others have transferred to any of a number of other jails across the state. We track arrests and find you.
Once you are in jail, call the jail support hotline so that we can coordinate an attorney to give you a bail advisement. Remember, you always have the right to remain silent. Anything you say will likely be used against you. Remember these magic words "I choose to remain silent. I want see a lawyer", and then remain silent.
Depending on you charges, bond may be set at the jail. Otherwise you will have to go before a judge to have your bond set.
If you do not have access to resources to bond yourself out of jail, the Freshet Collective may pay your bond. If you accept these funds, you must show up for your court appearances or you will forfeit the movement's money to North Dakota law enforcement.
You must also agree to return any bond money remaining upon conclusion of the case back to the Freshet Collective, to be redeposited in the Sacred Stone Legal Defense Fund.
ARRAIgnMENT AND PRE-TRIAL
You may attend a bond hearing before being released from jail, and if so, you will likely be arraigned at that hearing. But if you were bonded directly out of jail before appearing before a judge at a bond hearing, then will be arraigned at your initial appearance.
After that, the second court date is typically a pre-trial conference. You can apply for a public defender- but many or most applications that are returned because the form was not entirely filled out. If you cannot get a public defender, we may be able to find a lawyer to take your case.
Your lawyer will be the best places you may find answers to many of your questions. These different types of hearings are explained in detail in our Wiki Page, which is a good place to start learning basic legal info.
In most cases, the most important thing is to show up. Search the North Dakota Courts Records Inquiry to find the date, time, and location for your next court date. If you cannot find what you are looking for or if you have any questions, call the Morton County Clerk at 701-667-3358.
Your attorney will do everything they can to get your case dismissed. In many cases this will happen before it ever goes to trial. In the event that you and your attorney do decide to go to trial, you have a right to have your case heard before a jury. Your attorney will explain everything you need to know.