When the police take a person into custody, that individual is considered arrested. Someone is under the custody of the police when they aren’t free to leave. Although many people in Houston, Texas, are taken to jail when they’re arrested, the arrest often starts much earlier. For instance, a person is under arrest when stopped on suspicion of robbery. The same is true when they’re being questioned and aren’t free to terminate the questioning.
It’s easy to make a criminal case in Houston, Texas, much worse by saying or doing something wrong during an arrest. Even when the police officer follows proper procedures, a physical movement or a slip of the tongue that gets misinterpreted by the law enforcer can have dire consequences.
An arrest can be a scary and intimidating process, particularly if you’ve never experienced it before.
Here’s what to do if you find yourself in this situation
1. Don’t Run Or Fight
The worst instinct to follow if you’re being arrested is your fight-or-flight instinct. It’s a separate crime to obstruct, delay, or resist an officer doing their duties. Not to mention, you can get hurt by either getting thrown to the ground, struck with a baton, pepper-sprayed, tased, or shot. Don’t run or resist arrest, and, most importantly, never put your hands on an officer. Again, you may end up with more charges or getting injured if you do it.
2. Cooperate To The Arresting Law Enforcer
As already mentioned, you could be charged if you refuse to cooperate or go with the police officer after they’ve informed you that you’re under arrest. That’s why it’s important to follow all lawful directions of the arresting officer. Make sure to just stay calm and be compliant if a police officer has indicated that you’re being arrested. Anything the Houston, Texas, police have done that you think is procedurally wrong can be addressed later. Note that cooperation doesn’t mean not getting legal advice, admitting to offenses, or making admissions because you’re hoping to get bail.
3. Don’t Talk To The Police (As Much As Possible)
Avoid talking to the police or giving a statement about your case. There’s a real risk that what you say could be misunderstood or taken out of context. It can happen even if the police officer only wanted to hear the story from your side. Politely and calmly say to the police that you want a Houston criminal defense attorney, and you’re choosing to remain silent for the meantime.
It’s true that police officers are allowed to ask questions from you, but that doesn’t mean you have to answer them all the time. In Houston, Texas, people charged with a crime have a general right to remain silent. In many cases, you don’t have to answer questions from arresting officers.
However, note that there are some questions that you must answer, such as your name, permanent address, and date of birth. Refusing to answer necessary questions, especially those related to your personal information, can be considered an offense.
4. Never Agree To Be Searched
Don’t consent to searches by the police. If they ask for permission to search for something, it only means they don’t have any right to do it unless you agree to be searched. Don’t ever give permission. State politely and firmly that you don’t consent to your property or you being searched instead. Note, however, that if the police present a document telling you to comply with a search, do so. There are real circumstances in which the police can search with the right documents, like a search warrant.
5. Be Calm And Composed During The Interview Process
The police should caution you if you need to be subjected to an interview. Note that the interview will have to be recorded in relation to indictable matters. At the interview’s conclusion, you’ll be provided a copy of the recording. It’s important to be calm and composed throughout the interview process. You have to consider your body language and look presentable. Remember that, at some stage, a jury may watch the recording, whether you’re making a no comment or a comment interview.
6. Begin Preparing Your Defense As Soon As You’re Released From Police Custody
Immediately document your case and prepare your defense when you get out of jail. Write down every exact detail you can remember about your arrest. If anyone has witnessed your arrest, try to get their contact information. It might take several months before your case is heard, so use the time you have in finding a way to get all your witnesses to court. Seek medical attention immediately if you’re injured. Also, make sure that you have a copy of all your treatment records, as well as photographs of your injuries.
7. Obtain Legal Assistance
Being arrested in Houston, Texas, can be a stressful and unpleasant experience. Oftentimes, people think that if they only cooperate or explain the situation, the police will release them and get them out of jail. While police officers may really say something to that effect, it’s important not to make any decisions regarding your case, or talk your way out of the jail, unless you’ve already talked to an attorney. Until you see a lawyer who represents you, don’t do anything about your case or participate in a lineup.
If you’re charged with a crime or arrested, you’re entitled to the assistance of a lawyer. Contact the local public defender’s office or an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Houston, Texas, to discuss your case. An attorney can tell you how your criminal case is likely to progress in court. You’ll also know what to expect as you try to navigate the criminal justice system. Indeed, the best way to obtain the best possible outcome and protect your rights in your case is to work with a good lawyer.
When arrested in Houston, Texas, cooperating with the arresting officers, staying calm, and talking to a criminal defense lawyer are essential steps to take. Keep the tips mentioned above in mind, and your arrest will end up being one of those crazy stories you can tell friends at a party or random gathering, as opposed to something that’s more life-disrupting.