In last week’s blog post, we discussed several things you should feel comfortable doing during an arrest. These ranged from invoking your right to remain silent to allowing for a legal pat-down. The Golden Rule we derived from that blog is that, wherever you are at in the arrest process, be sure to contact your Texas criminal defense attorney at Alex Hernandez Jr. Criminal Law. Our criminal defense lawyers specialize in ensuring your legal rights are upheld during the criminal proceedings after you have been accused of a crime.
If you are arrested or detained, it is unfortunately very easy to make the situation worse for yourself. If a police officer approaches you, your car, or your home and attempts to detain, arrest, or question you, follow the below advice:
During An Arrest, Do Not:
Incriminate Yourself: Last time we talked about invoking your right to remain silent and ask for a lawyer. Along with your right to remain silent is your right to not be a witness against yourself. Justice happens in the courtroom, not on the side of the road during a traffic stop, nor during a property search, nor during a police station interrogation. Any lawyer will tell you to not talk to the police. We respect police officers and are grateful for their service, but at the same time, our job is to ensure the law is upheld in all its forms.
Run or Flee: Even if you clearly have evidence of criminal activity on your person, in your home, or your car and think you might go to jail, evading the police can add another misdemeanor or felony charge and increase your sentence should you be convicted.
Resist Arrest: Innocent or guilty, do not evade arrest. An innocent person getting arrested is a huge inconvenience, but the moment you fight back you put a criminal charge on your back that could result in jail time.
Discuss Your Immigration Status: Just like you have the right to not incriminate yourself, you do not have to tell police where you were born or how long you have been in the country. Texas recently passed a law allowing law enforcement to question your immigration status. If they do this and you are concerned about your legal status, inform them again that you are invoking your right to remain silent, that you do not consent to a search, and that you will not speak until you meet with a lawyer. Do not sign anything, especially if you do not understand what it says, and do not discuss your immigration status with anyone other than your lawyer. You have the right to request a lawyer who is fluent in your native language. At Alex Hernandez Jr. Criminal Law, we have Spanish-speaking staff and lawyers who specialize in immigration offenses that can help you from being wrongfully deported.
Agree To A Property Search: Never, ever agree to a property search. If you’re pulled over on suspected DWI, police may say something like, “I can smell alcohol on your breath so I’m going to search your car for open containers,” or, “I’m going to bring my canine to sniff out your car if you don’t consent to a search.” Always respond with a firm, “I do not consent to a search.” Even if they wave a search warrant in your face, tell them you do not consent to a search. If, after speaking with your lawyer, it is found the police searched your property illegally, they may not be able to use certain evidence against you in a court of law. It doesn’t hurt your case to say “You do not have my consent to a search,” even if they have a search warrant.
Do Not Take The Law Into Your Own Hands: If a police officer abuses his or her power and searches your property without a search warrant or probable cause, uses excessive force or other illegal tactics, trust that you – and the officer – will have your day in court. Unfortunately, trying to take the law into your own hands and physically trying to intervene with the police can end poorly for you.
Consent To A Lineup Without A Lawyer: One of the most frequent ways an innocent person is convicted of a crime is because of wrongful identification during a police lineup. If you are told you will be in a lineup, let the police station know you will not do so until a lawyer is present. This is to ensure your rights are upheld during the lineup and that there is no bias or improper procedures.
When In Doubt, Stay Silent Until Your Criminal Defense Lawyer Is Present
At Alex Hernandez Jr., Criminal Law, we are the Texas criminal defense lawyers you can trust to fight to ensure your legal rights are upheld. We specialize in everything from immigration law to DWI to felonies, and everything in between. Guilty or innocent, you have constitutional rights that must be upheld and we are here to ensure that and fight on your behalf for the best possible outcome. If you or a loved one has been arrested or unlawfully detained, get in touch with your Texas criminal defense attorney today.