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What happens when you get arrested?



First and foremost, if you have been arrested, contact a criminal defense attorney. You need to protect your rights your matter what. At Citizen Defense, PLLC, we can help you if you have been arrested in Hays, Travis, Williamson, or surrounding counties. 


If you have been arrested or are just looking for information about the process of being arrested, the scenario should go something like this: 


You are living your day-to-day life: going to work, hanging out with friends, or having a night in with the family. Regardless of what you are doing you have a run in with the police. Most run-of-the-mill arrests happen for driving while intoxicated (DWI), drug possession charge, or an assault in a public area or the household. The conversation with the police once they arrive does not seem to be going your way. Then the police ask you where you are going, where you are coming from. They continue to probe and ask about what happened and make inferences that your story does not match witnesses’ stories. They keep asking you what happened and make you repeat your story over and over. Everyone reading this is probably thinking about Miranda Rights, we will get to that. At this point in the investigation, the police are simply trying to find out what happened and have not made it overtly clear that you are headed to the county jail. But the more you talk, the closer to jail you are getting.


Police live by that phrase “give them enough rope to hang themselves” and that is exactly what they are doing. They are allowing you to explain what happened, then try and clarify what happened, then add additional details, making it seem increasingly like you are lying. Once you have properly told on yourself, the police will then inform you that you are under arrest. Many times, the police start an investigation into one crime, but the suspect does such a bad job explaining the story it blows up into a bigger offense. 


How do you avoid getting arrested? If you are the one being investigated there is extraordinarily little you can do to prevent being arrested. If the police believe you are the culprit, trying to explain to them what happened often makes it worse, just as discussed above. Your best bet is to invoke your rights, simply stay quiet. Identify yourself to the officers and then stop helping the investigation. It is not your job to help the police gather evidence against you. 


Let’s say the person in this example tried to explain the situation away and then the handcuffs went on. Now the Officer should read you your Miranda Rights. We say “should” because very rarely do things go as they should when someone is being arrested. Emotions and adrenaline run high on both sides of the arrest. Most Texas citizens have never been arrested, and they often describe it as a blur of flashing lights and people in uniforms barking orders. The officers feel the same way because each arrest is different. They could be making a mistake, they could have the right person but make a huge procedural error, and more importantly, each suspect is different. Will this person run, fight, cry, laugh - they do not know until it happens.


Again, the best thing you can do is stay quiet and follow orders. Never has someone argued their way out of handcuffs. We have courts and judicial systems to argue outside of  a live situation. 


Even if you have not been read your Miranda Rights, this is not a silver bullet to win your case. Assuming the officer does read your Miranda Rights, they will ask if you would like to keep answering questions. We have already established that you should not, stay quiet. Then you will be placed into the squad car and transported to the local jail. Once at the jail you will be searched, photographed, and in-processed into the jail, where you will remain until you can see a Magistrate Judge. 


The State of Texas requires Magistration to occur within 48 hours after being arrested or as soon as reasonably possible. The Magistrate will explain to the arrested persons their rights, the charge they are being accused of and set bail if they feel it is appropriate. In Hays County, Magistration occurs daily beginning around 9 A.M. but it may vary. In Travis County, it is similar, but a lawyer can expedite that process. 


Each County in Texas has its own procedures, but none are too different. Whether or not you are granted a bond, your criminal case still has not started. For smaller misdemeanor cases, it requires a prosecutor of that county to file an “Information” and a “Complaint.” These two documents are exactly what they sound like, the current information the prosecutors have and the complaint you broke a specific law. Depending on the type of charge depends on how long the prosecutor’s office will have to file these documents, which is known as the Statute of Limitations. As for bigger crimes, known as felonies, the prosecutor’s office cannot start this case alone. They must ask the local citizens if they think it is possible that the crime occurred. They will convene a Grand Jury and ask them with the information available to us now, is it possible this accused person committed this crime. 


If either one of these steps happens you will need an experienced law team to help you. A team that understands the law and its applications. You also want a team that knows the judges, prosecutors, and court staff. A familiar face in law can make an unbearable situation a little smoother. If you or someone you know needs legal help, reach out to us at Citizen Defense, PLLC.

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