Criminal Criminal and DWI Lawyer Explains Your Rights
Put a Trained Houston Defense Attorney in Your Corner to Protect Your Future
If I am arrested, are police required to read me my Miranda Rights?
You have heard them on TV and in the movies many times: "you have
the right to remain silent; if you say anything it can and will be used
against you in a court of law; you have the right to be represented by
a lawyer before answering any questions; if you cannot afford a lawyer
the court will appoint a lawyer to represent you".
These rights only come into play when you are under arrest, which means
that you are not free to leave, and when you respond to questions asked
by the police. Any unsolicited or spontaneous statements made by a defendant
are not protected by Miranda. Also, any statements made during the course
of a traffic stop prior to your arrest are not protected by Miranda. You're
not talking your way out of being arrested, the only words coming out
of your mouth should be
"I want to speak to my lawyer." So if you do only one thing right, then is best that you
remain silent and make NO statements at all.
What should I do if police ask permission to search my home?
A police officer can do anything that a private citizen can do. If police
have hit a wall during their investigation and they do not have sufficient
evidence to establish probable cause to search your home, then a common
tactic is the "knock and talk". A police officer will simply
walk up and knock on your front door and ask if he can come inside and
speak with you. If you allow the police officer to enter your home, then
anything he sees in "plain sight" and anything you say to him
can be used to establish probable cause for a search warrant later. However,
the police officer will not stop with just asking a few questions, at
the end of this consensual interview he will then ask you permission to
look around the house. If you reply sure go ahead, then you just consented
to a search of your home.
You do not have to consent to any of the above scenarios. If a cop knocks
on your door and ask to speak with you,
say NO. Tell the cop you are busy and to contact your lawyer, then close the
door. If a cop knocks on your front door and asks permission to search
say NO. Tell the cop to get off your property until he has a search warrant.
What should I do if police stop me and ask permission to search my car?
During a traffic stop police develop probable cause to believe that you
have committed a crime and that there is evidence of that crime in your
vehicle, then they are not required to first get a search warrant. But
when your case gets to trial the police will still be required to state
their evidence constituting probable cause for the search of your vehicle.
So usually the police will first ask permission to search your car. If
you say yes, then police can tear your car apart during the search. If
you say no, then a couple of things might happen. First, the cop may call
a K-9 unit to come to the scene and run a drug sniffing dog around your
car. Second, the cop may just say that he smells the odor of marijuana
and search without your permission and without a search warrant.
say NO. You have the right to refuse all searches, make the police work for it
if they want to invade your privacy and search your car.
What should I do if police stop me and ask me to do field sobriety tests?
Before asking you to do Field Sobriety Tests, the cop must first establish
that he has a reasonable suspicion that you have consumed alcohol and
that you might me impaired. He will do this by observing physical signs
such as slurred speech, red or watery eyes, odor of alcohol, your balance
when you exit your vehicle and walk to the rear of your car. The reason
you were pulled over could also be an indicator of intoxication, such
as failing to maintain a single lane of traffic or crossing the center
line. If the cop reports enough of these circumstantial clues, then he
can ask you to do the Field Sobriety Tests, which are the eye test or
HGN, "one leg stand" and "walk and turn".
It is your right to refuse these tests,
say NO. If you do say no then you are going straight to jail, but at least you
did not give the police any more evidence to use against you.
What should I do if police ask me to take a breath or blood test?
The short answer is that it is your right to
say NO and refuse all tests. However, the No Refusal Weekend and Zero Tolerance
policies of law enforcement have complicated that short answer.
It is always best to
say NO and refuse the blood test. If the cop wants to take your blood, make him
get a search warrant. Once the cop has the search warrant, make it perfectly
clear that you are only cooperating under duress. If you do not cooperate
with the blood draw, then several police officers will hold you down while
your blood is taken by force.
It is easier to fight a positive breath test then it is to fight a positive
blood test. So if you are arrested over the weekend or on a holiday, when
it is likely that the cop can find a judge to sign a search warrant, then
it is best to take the breath test.
There are still laws on the books in Texas that say if you are arrested
for a Felony DWI, Intoxication Assault, or Intoxication Manslaughter,
then the police can take your blood without a search warrant. However,
due to a recent decision by the United States Supreme Court, most police
officers should try to obtain a search warrant.
Many times I hear clients tell me that the police officer said that they
had no choice so the client consented to the blood test, or what happens
next is that police officer tells the client that if they do not consent
to the blood test, then the cop will get a search warrant and take their
blood regardless of consent. So the client consents when they should
say NO. Make the police work for the evidence to convict you, make the cop get
a search warrant for your blood.
Innocent Until Proven Guilty
The fundamental principle of our justice system is that you are "innocent
until proven guilty." This sounds good, and many lawyers try to hide
behind this principle by pointing out to a jury that is responsibility
of the State to prove that a defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
These lawyers will simply sit back and try to poke holes in the State's
evidence by pointing out inconsistencies in that evidence. Solely relying
on this defense strategy will greatly increase the likely hood of your
conviction. I believe, despite what the law says, a defendant must do
everything he can to prove his innocence. A defendant and his lawyer,
must be proactive in presenting a defense to the jury so as give the jury
a reason to find the defendant not guilty.
Get the Help You Need 24/7 from a Houston Criminal Attorney
If you are charged with a criminal case in Houston, call
713-468-9333 (713-got-Weed) or
713-468-2394 (713-got-aDWI) or
e-mail my office to discuss your criminal charge. I offer payment plans, and
accept Visa, Master Card, Discover Card, and American Express. Program
my number into your cell phone now, because you never know when you'll