Preface: If you're reading this, chances are you or someone you know has been arrested. If that's the case, and you need immiedate assistance, call me right now at 956.516-9044 or email me at email@example.com, so we can start working on getting you or your loved one out of jail.
Being arrested is one of the most intimidating, intrusive, and sometimes painful processes our legal system has to offer--and, that's just the beginning of your journey through the criminal justice system. A lot rides on how you handle yourself before, during, and after an arrest, so here are 7 things you should do if you're being arrested.
1. BE CORDIAL TO THE POLICE.
If you've been stopped and are being questioned by an officer, it is imperative that you be cordial. It may be hard to be nice to someone you know is either about to ticket you or arrest you, but consider this: being nice could be the difference between being asked to place your hands behind your back and being gently lowered into the squad car OR being violently thrown to the ground, having a 200-pound man's knee dropped on your back, having your arms forcefully yanked behind you, and having metal handcuffs placed uncomfortably tight on your wrists. Being nice will only work to YOUR benefit--and, if your case goes to trial, your cordiality will give the jury a favorable opinion of you (you are being recorded by the dashcam/bodycam after all). So, for the sake of your health, comfort, and legal defenses, be nice.
2. BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU SAY.
Police officers are NOT your friends. They're NOT going to help you. Contrary to popular belief, they ARE allowed to lie to you. They will try to trick you. They will try to outsmart you. They will try to intimidate you. So, if and when you do speak, be very careful with what you say. Don't think you can talk your way out of getting arrested. After you've been arrested, don't think you can explain to the officer how it's all a big misunderstanding. They will egg you on and try chit-chatting with you because the more you talk, the more they have to use against you. Avoid all of this by simply saying, "I'd like to speak to my attorney," then call me at 956-516-9044 to get help.
3. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT--USE IT.
There's a reason you have the right to remain silent. One of those reasons is because no matter how careful you are about what you say, it's unlikely you'll know what's incriminating and what's not. For example, if you're under 21 years old, you might think telling an officer you just had half a beer will help you get off. What you might not know is that Section 106.041 of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code states, "A minor commits an offense if the minor operates a motor vehicle in a public place while having any detectable amount of alcohol in the minor's system." In that example, you just admitted to a crime to a police officer. So, if you're confronted by an officer, yes, you must identify yourself (e.g. give your name and date of birth)--and if you're driving, you must provide your driver's license, concealed handgun license (if you have one), insurance information, and vehicle registration--but you may remain silent after that. If they ask, "Where are you headed?" or "Do you know how fast you were going?" you have the right to not respond. If you feel uncomfortable doing that, simply state, "I have the right to remain silent, so I'm NOT going to answer any of your questions, officer." A few moments of discomfort and awkwardness are better than the alternative.
4. COMPLY WITH AN OFFICER'S PHYSICAL COMMANDS.
If an officer tells you to step out of the vehicle, put your hands up, get on the ground, put your hands behind your back, or any similar command, do your best to comply. Officers are people, too. When people feel threatened, they sometimes do unreasonable things. If you follow the news, you'll know that this is true. So, if you're being commanded by an officer to do something, do it. If you feel like what's happening to you is unjust, unfair, unethical, unprofessional, or just plain wrong, call me at 956.516.9044 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we can discuss what option you may have; however, DON'T EVER try to resist or escape arrest or fight with an officer. That can be a fatal mistake.
5. DO NOT CONSENT TO ANYTHING.
There's a difference between being commanded to do something, and being asked for something. For example, an officer might ask you non-nonchalantly if they can search your vehicle (e.g. "Mind if I take a look in your vehicle?"). It could seem harmless and simple, but if you consent to this, they might spend the next 20 minutes looking in every crevice of your vehicle. Another example--if they suspect you of drunk driving, they might ask you to perform a sobriety test, or consent to take a breath or blood sample. They may even make you believe you MUST do these things or that it's in your best interest--you don't, and it's not. All these officers are after is more evidence to use against you to justify their arrest and get a conviction. Don't be fooled. If matters become confusing or something doesn't feel right, simply state, "Officer, I do not consent to anything, and I'd like to speak to my attorney before answering any questions." If they give you the opportunity, call me immediately at 956.516.9044 for help.
6. KNOW YOUR BAIL BOND OPTIONS
Bail bonds can be a complex topic, so let's start simply. "Bail" is the security given by the defendant (in this case, the arrested person) that he will appear and answer the accusation brought against him before the proper court. The "security given" could be many different things--money, a promise, property, etc. A court occasionally allows a defendant to promise he will show up--this is known as a "personal bond"--but most of the time the court sets a dollar amount for the bail. If you pay the entire bail amount, they'll release you from jail on what's known as a "cash bond." If you don't have the entire amount, however, you can get a surety (i.e. someone who will vouch for the defendant and has the financial ability to pay the entire bond amount, if called to do so). The surety and the defendant will jointly promise that the defendant will appear before a court to answer the criminal accusation (a.k.a. a "surety bond"). Because this makes the surety liable for the defendant's conduct, sureties will often collect a fee for doing this. If you need a surety, call me at 956-516-9044 or email me at email@example.com to see how I can help you.
7. CALL YOUR ATTORNEY IMMEDIATELY
Much like all other legal matters, it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible after an arrest has occurred. To demonstrate the importance of hiring an attorney early on, consider this: after arrest, you must be brought before a judge to determine if there was probable cause for your arrest and to set bail. In their haste to get bail set, many defendants forget that this is a hearing where the arrest must be justified. As a good defense attorney, I force the State to justify their arrest at this hearing--and if there was no probable cause, it will likely be determined that you are being unlawfully detained. That means you can be released, and the case is effectively over before it began. This is the power of having a good attorney.
So, if you or someone you know has been arrested, don't wait, don't hesitate, don't think twice--call me at 956-516-9044 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to get the help you need.
Attorney Christian A. Davila
DISCLAIMER: In this blog, I outline various, common legal issues; however, this IS NOT actual legal advice! In order to get actual legal advice from THE LAW OFFICE OF CHRISTIAN DAVILA, call and meet with Attorney Christian A. Davila at your earliest convenience.
Additionally, no legal relationship will form between any individual and our law office until parties have discussed legal representation and signed off on an agreed contract. To discuss hiring our law office to represent you in a legal matter, call and meet with Attorney Christian A. Davila at your earliest convenience.