Were you or a loved one accused of a crime and have questions about our 6 criminal defense tips for you? Contact our Texas lawyers today.
1) Court Appointed Lawyer
The process for getting a court-appointed lawyer usually starts when you’re arrested and they’ll ask if you want to be evaluated to see if you qualify for a court-appointed lawyer. They’re going to look at your income and the offense to see if you qualify for a court-appointed lawyer. If you can afford a lawyer, very often, I think that’s the better choice than using a court-appointed lawyer. An example would be if you’re charged with a DWI, that court-appointed lawyer will show up in court, look at the file, and try to determine whether it’s a case that you’re likely going to have to plead for or whether or not you ought to assert some defenses.
The problem with that is there’s a second part of the DWI. There’s a process by which the DPS is going to try to take away your driver’s license. A court-appointed lawyer isn’t paid to do that, so they usually will not represent you at the DPS hearing, which will result in you losing your driver’s license. Most hired lawyers will do that as part of their fee. By using a court-appointed lawyer, you’re giving up some of the other tangential issues that come up in the charge because your court-appointed lawyer isn’t paid to handle those other things that come about because of a charge.
2) Bailing Someone Out of Jail
If a loved one, family member, or friend are arrested, first thing to would do is contact a lawyer and talk to the lawyer about what the options are on bail. A lawyer can very often talk to the judge and get the bail amount reduced. If the person wants to get out of jail immediately and they are arrested, then sometimes it may be quicker just to contact a bail bondsman. Be sure to contact more than one because very often they’re fees may vary. A common fee is 10% of the amount of the set. If someone has a $1,000 bond, they may charge $100 to get the person out. Very often they want collateral.
If you find out that you have a charge pending, let’s say a misdemeanor or felony in the state court, there is a good option; a lawyer can walk you over to court and turn you in to the judge, get a bond set, and then you can be processed in the basement of the courthouse. By doing that, the entire process might take two hours and you get out with fewer conditions than if you were processed in the jail. If you’re processed in the jail, the process might take 12 to 24 hours to get out.
3) Bail Jumping
If you are released on bail, they will usually give you a court setting, which usually happens about 30 days after you get out. You need to go back to court and it could be every 30 days until the case is resolved. If you don’t go to court or you miss your court date, then what’s likely to happen is the judge will revoke your bond, you’ll get arrested, put in jail, and the judge may remand you without bond. That means you sit there until your court date. It’s really important to meet all your court settings and be there on time.
If for some reason you can’t make it because of sickness, a car accident, or something along those lines, contact your lawyer, and get some proof to the lawyer so the lawyer can talk to the judge about not revoking the bond. All judges vary. Some will come down hard on somebody just because they’re late, and some judges will give people 10 days to turn themselves in before they revoke the bond. In all cases, it’s best to make it there on time or be there a little early so you’re present when the judge calls your name.
4) Outstanding Arrest Warrant
If you’re told there’s a warrant for your arrest, the first thing you need to do is get a lawyer hired before you’re arrested. That’s important because there are a couple of things a lawyer can do. The lawyer can go find out what the case is about, and in some cases he can talk to the judge and get a bond set at a low rate so you can get out. The main thing that the lawyer can do, in most cases, is turn you in at the courthouse where you get processed in about two hours. If you wait until you’re arrested by a Sheriff’s Deputy, you’ll be put in jail when it can take anywhere from 12 to 24 hours to get out. If we turn you in at the courthouse, it’s about a two-hour turnaround time. o If we turn you in at 9:30 in the morning, you’ll be out in time for lunch.
5) Arraignment Process
At an arraignment, two things will happen. First, you’re going to be informed of the charges against you and a bond will be set. In Texas, especially in Bexar County, arraignment is usually done at the time of the arrest. You’re taken downtown and a judge informs you of the charges, and they set a bond. Occasionally, arraignment will happen in the courtroom itself, where someone is given notice to appear or they know there’s a charge, so they turn themselves in. There are advantages to doing it that way. If you know that there are charges pending against you, what you should do is contact a lawyer because there are ways to process you at the courthouse where you don’t spend a day in the jail. What we can do is turn you in at the courthouse. The judge will arraign you, set a bond, and we’ll take you down into the basement of the courthouse and you can be out in two hours as opposed to all day if you are arrested and arraigned at the JP Court or at the municipal court.
6) Miranda Rights
Miranda Rights are an important safeguard, but a lot of people will contact me and say that their Miranda Rights weren’t read to them. Let me explain how that works. In Texas, if you are given your Miranda Rights, what that really means is the officer warned you about your right to remain silent and that anything you say can be used against you. However, if they don’t give you your Miranda Rights, it doesn’t mean that your case is immediately thrown out. What it really means is that you might be able to get statements thrown out that you made that were the result of custodial interrogation. Why is that important? Let me explain what that means.
If you just tell an officer some facts, and they didn’t ask a probing question, then that statement will probably be able to be used against you, even if they didn’t read you your Miranda Rights. If the officer starts asking you questions in an interrogation, and you incriminate yourself and they haven’t read your Miranda Rights, we might be able to get those statements thrown out so they can’t use them against you. Today, very often, police officers will bring you into the police station, tell you you’re not under arrest, and they just want to talk and chat with you. They do that so that you’re not being detained, you’re free to leave, and they try to do that so that the statements that they get from you can be used against you, even with out Miranda Rights.
Were you or a loved one accused of a crime and have questions about our 6 criminal defense tips for you? Contact a San Antonio criminal attorney at Rush & Gransee today for a consultation on your case and all of your potential defenses. Let our experience work for you.