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What to Do if You Face Criminal Charges

— December 7, 2022

Keep in mind that if you give your consent to a police search, you won’t be able to later claim it was illegal.

McAllen, TX – Being arrested or taken in for questioning in connection with a criminal case is a terrifying experience for anyone. No matter what the charges against you are, your conduct at the time of your arrest may have a great influence on the outcome of your case. The most important thing is to know what your rights are and to put them to good use. Here’s a quick look at what you should do in the unfortunate event that you get arrested in the McAllen area or anywhere else in Texas for that matter.

Don’t say anything

The stuff they tell you that you have the right to remain silent is not a movie line and it’s not an empty formula. Consider it not only as a right, but also as a duty to yourself and don’t tell the arresting officers anything. Except your name. You have an obligation to confirm your identity, but after that just keep your mouth shut. You might be tempted to offer some sort of explanation and prove that you’re not guilty of anything, but you might easily let slip something you shouldn’t say.

Get a criminal defense attorney right away

Tell the police that you will use your right to remain silent and won’t say anything until you’ve seen a lawyer, preferably a knowledgeable McAllen criminal defense lawyer of your choosing. Do not rely on court-appointed lawyers as they are less motivated in winning your case. 

Do not consent to an illegal search

Law enforcement agents need to have a valid warrant to search you, your car or your house. In certain cases, they may conduct a search without a warrant if they have probable cause to stop and search your car that might contain evidence pertaining to a criminal activity. The same goes for a stop and frisk operation, also known as a Terry stop.

Man handing police officer his driver's license; image by Kindel Media, via
Man handing police officer his driver’s license; image by Kindel Media, via

If your criminal defense lawyer can prove that the police had no probable cause to search you or your car, this is a violation of your civil rights stated in the 4th Amendment to the US Constitution. An illegal search is considered a form of police misconduct. As a result any evidence obtained during an illegal search can be declared inadmissible in court and any charges against you based on illegally-obtained evidence can be easily dismissed. If you’re in such a situation, don’t hesitate to contact a skilled Texas criminal defense lawyer. 

Keep in mind that if you give your consent to a police search, you won’t be able to later claim it was illegal. The same goes if you let the officers into your house without a warrant. If you showed them in, that is no longer misconduct. 

Also, if the police use force to make you confess, that’s another type of misconduct. If your lawyer is able to prove you were coerced into making a confession, anything you said in it will not hold in court. If the confession is tossed out and the police have nothing else on you, your lawyer can get you out in no time. 

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