Were you or a loved one accused of a crime and have questions about dealing with the police? Check out this article, then call our San Antonio lawyers today.
Talking to the Police
In Texas, if a police officer or detective calls you and says, “I would like you to come down and give your side of the story to an incident,” I would suggest you immediately call a criminal defense lawyer that’s handled those types of cases or handled that situation before. Normally, what I instruct my client to do is have me call the officer and say, “He’s not going to come down and meet with you. That’s my advice.” You’re acting on the advice of a lawyer; do not refuse to go down.
I would suggest that you tell the officer you’re going to talk to a lawyer first because there is some risk in going down and talking with the police officer. In 25 years, I’ve probably gone down two or three times with a client, and met with police officers, and met with the detectives, and ultimately those cases were dismissed. However, it’s very risky to go down, especially without a lawyer, because normally when you walk in the room, the detective will tell you you’re free to leave, you’re not under arrest, you’re there voluntarily, and that puts you at ease. But if you’re not under arrest, and you’re free to leave, then he doesn’t have to read you your Miranda rights – he doesn’t have to describe the risk you’re taking – and so people very often think they can go in and talk freely which is very risky.
Very often, you can say things that are very innocent, things you would think wouldn’t be able to be used against you, but the fact is the officer may find a way to use that incident against you. If you find out the date of an alleged incident, you may end up having a defense to it. You may be able to have an alibi, you may have been out-of-state, but when you meet with the officer, you don’t probably know the exact date; you don’t know the allegation. Very often, they’ll get you to commit to something. Were you drinking? Is it possible you were intoxicated? All those questions could come back and hurt you. It’s best to talk to a lawyer first, and make an informed decision about whether you want to go down and meet with the police officer.
Police Entering Your Home
In Texas, if police officers come and knock on your door and ask for permission to search, your answer should be, “Do you have a warrant?” If they don’t have a warrant, say no.
You have no obligation to let them into your house. You don’t get any benefits for letting them in. In fact, instruct them to get a warrant. I suspect if they had enough evidence to get a warrant, they would already have one.
Unlawful Vehicle Searches
In Texas, if a police officer asks to search your vehicle and search your trunk, the answer ought to be no. There are some circumstances where an officer is going to be able to search your car, regardless if you give consent or not. If he stops you for a criminal offense and you’re driving the car, and he’s going to arrest you, then he can do what’s called an inventory search of your car. He’s going to be able to search your car anyways.
If an officer just asks to search your car – he didn’t stop you, he didn’t pull you over – the answer ought to be no because he needs a warrant. Secondly, you don’t know always what’s in your car. Other people use your car, you’ve had passengers in your car, and the fact is there could be something found in your car that will be attributed to you and get you charged with a criminal offense.
Were you or a loved one accused of a crime and have questions about dealing with the police? 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.
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