Texas is one of the harshest states in the U.S. to get charged with a crime. While being arrested or charged with a crime is stressful, you must do your best to stay calm and remember that your case begins from the moment you are stopped by an officer of the law.
Your actions and words have a strong influence on the final outcome of your case, and it is critical to avoid these 8 common criminal investigation mistakes that could cause you to experience the worst of the penalties.
Mistake #8: Making incriminating statements during arrest
During a stop, police officers often ask questions that you don’t have to answer. Although you are legally obligated to provide them with basic personal information such as your name, you don’t have to tell them whether or not you have been drinking or if you were recently at the scene of a crime.
Instead, it’s in your best interest to invoke your right to remain silent on these matters until you’ve talked with a lawyer — even if you are innocent. Keep in mind that even something as simple as a joke about the situation could be misconstrued in court.
Mistake #7: Forgetting that you are probably being filmed
Today, most police officers have body cams and recording systems in their cars. You can also be filmed while sitting in the back seat of a police vehicle and in your jail holding cell. Remember that you could be filmed at any point during your time in police custody, so conduct yourself in a way that you wouldn’t mind being shown to the jury.
Mistake #6: Resisting any part of the arrest
No one likes to be arrested, and it may be tempting to fight back if you feel as though the police officer is using extreme force or has no reason to make an arrest. Some people even try to resist the court-ordered blood test for a potential DWI charge.
Try to remember that resisting will only make the situation worse since the arresting officer will feel the need to use even more force. Your resistance can also lead to further charges. If you feel as though your rights are being violated, then take a mental note of everything that happens so that you can tell your lawyer later.
Mistake #5: Skipping your court date
Getting out on bond gives you a chance to begin putting together your case. Unfortunately, the time between your arrest and the court date can be lengthy. This could cause new things to come up that might make you forget to show up on your court date.
Never make this mistake, since a no show in court could lead to an immediate order for you to be rearrested, and it becomes much harder to prove your case during the next court appearance.
Mistake #4: Being unprepared for court
You also want to make sure that when you show up for court, you show up on time and look like a responsible citizen. While you don’t have to wear a suit, it typically doesn’t hurt your image. You should at least dress in your nicest clothes, and present with a clean and neat appearance that shows you care.
You will also want to be on time and have a general understanding of what should happen during the proceedings. Your defense lawyer should be able to help you with this.
Mistake #3: Taking advice from family and friends over your lawyer
Your best friend might have faced similar charges and got off with no penalties. Alternatively, your sister might have gone to law school or worked as a paralegal. While your friends and family mean best, the truth is that they are not an experienced board certified lawyer. Although you ask for their advice on things such as transportation to court, it’s best to follow the directions of your lawyer when it comes to your case.
Mistake #2: Choosing to represent yourself instead of hiring a professional defense lawyer
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is thinking that you will do just fine representing yourself in court. While you may have all kinds of evidence of your innocence, the truth is that most people lack the ability to do themselves justice when it comes to criminal law.
Always seek the advice of a Texas criminal defense lawyer as soon as you can after the arrest. An experienced lawyer is capable of helping to put together facts from your case that can be used to give you the best possible outcome.
Mistake #1: Not hiring the best lawyer you can afford
Getting charged with a crime, even if you’re innocent, is extremely serious. Depending upon your charges, the consequences of breaking laws in Texas can last a lifetime. When your liberty, freedom and reputation are on the line, you don’t want to leave your fate in the wrong hands.
Whether you may be facing jail time or stiff fines, hiring a board-certified criminal defense lawyer to walk you through the process of handling your case is the best way to avoid any critical mistakes.
If you or a loved one have been charged with a crime in Houston or Harris County, Texas, contact the most experienced defense attorney you can find. At Neal Davis Law, Neal Davis has successfully defended clients in Texas and federal courts in all types of criminal matters at all phases for over 25 years , from state misdemeanors to complex federal matters. Often, he has favorably resolved criminal cases quickly and quietly, without the need for trial.
Don’t hesitate to give us a call. Contact us to schedule an appointment.