Finding yourself in legal jeopardy is distressing. But for most parents, even more distressing is getting the phone call that your child is under arrest or being questioned by police. At this stage, you are unlikely to have much information, which only makes your imagination run wild. But it's important that you keep a level head, as the steps you take can directly affect the chances that your child is prosecuted. If you are careful, you may improve your child's situation. In the alternative, lashing out could have the opposite effect.
The good news is that you do not have to do this alone. If you hire an experienced Houston drug crimes attorney on your child's behalf, you can expect them to be a strong advocate from your child immediately upon hiring them. In some cases, an attorney may be able to avoid charges being filed altogether. To discuss your child's case with Houston's top drug crimes attorney, contact the Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C. today.
The 8 Steps to Take When Your Child is Arrested for a Houston Drug Crime
When it comes to drug crime arrests, no two cases are the same. Law enforcement will often handle cases very differently depending on the volume of drugs your child was alleged to have possessed. No matter the circumstances, here are 8 tips that will go a long way in getting your child the best possible outcome.
When you get the phone call that your child is under arrest or being questioned by the police, it's normal for panic to set in. You could be feeling a variety of emotions, including anger, sadness, concern, and dismay. Regardless of those emotions, it is critical that you maintain your composure in order to resolve the situation to the best of your ability. Not only will you make better decisions when you remain calm, but you also avoid the potential for making the situation worse.
Assess the Situation
When you are informed that your child has been arrested on drug charges, your first move after composing yourself should be to assess the situation. If you have been notified that your child has been arrested, you have likely also been informed where he is currently being held. While there is no guarantee that law enforcement will allow you to speak with your child, it is worth heading to where he or she is being held in an attempt to speak with them. The more information you have the better, as it will help your attorney in the preparation of your child's defense.
Know Your Rights as a Parent
It's also important that you understand your rights as a parent. For most parents, it seems logical that you would have final say on whether the police can interview your child. Those parents would be surprised to know that in many situations their children can be questioned by police without their knowledge. This is especially true in cases where a child is not in custody, as the police aren't even required to inform the child of their right to an attorney.
Be Respectful With Law Enforcement
No matter the circumstances of your child's arrest, it is always in their best interest for you to be respectful with law enforcement. Police officers often have a large amount of leeway in what charges, if any, to file on your child. Approaching an officer with hostility is unlikely to persuade them to go easy on your child. In fact, you are more likely to see that officer use their discretion to punish your child if you treat them disrespectfully. A drug arrest is serious enough on its own. It does your child no good to complicate things by agitating the officers involved.
Understand the Police are Not on Your Child's Side
That being said, treating law enforcement with respect and complying with their requests are two very different things. The police are intent on charging your child with a crime if they haven't already, and you don't want to make things any easier on them. Never agree to convince your child to “come clean” or “explain their side of the story.” You should advise your child to stay silent if given the chance, as more likely than not any interview will lead to incriminating statements. It is also never in your best interest to consent to any search. The police may want to go through your home or vehicles; always decline a request for a voluntary search. If the police want to conduct a search, they can get a warrant.
Don't Play Lawyer
While it is useful to understand your rights as well as the rights of a child, it is never a good idea to try and act as a child's legal counsel. It is common for a well-intentioned parent to hurt their child's case by inadvertently waiving their rights or inducing them to say something incriminating in your presence. Your child's future is in the balance, and it is possible that you could harm your child's case without even knowing it.
Contact an Experienced Houston Drug Crimes Lawyer
The most important step you can take in protecting the rights of your child is to contact an attorney with experience in defending Houston drug crimes cases. A lot can go into a case like this, and it is in your best interest to find an attorney with a background in drug crime cases. An attorney will give your child their best chance at avoiding a criminal conviction and can help keep a bad situation from becoming worse.
Ensure Your Child Understands Their Rights
If your child has been arrested, the police have already determined they have evidence of a drug crime. But that doesn't mean they are done with their investigation. That's why it is critical that your child understand their rights even after they have been arrested. You child's attorney can help explain those rights, including the right to stay silent. This can go a long way in preventing law enforcement from trying to pry an incriminating statement from your child after the arrest has been made.
What to Look For in a Houston Drug Crimes Lawyer
There are hundreds of attorneys in the Houston area that call themselves criminal defense attorneys. You have probably seen dozens of ads for attorneys that claim to be the best defense attorney in Houston. But how do you know which of these attorneys will provide the strongest defense for your child?
You should base your decision on hiring an attorney on more than the claims made in TV ads. The best criteria for identifying strong defense attorneys is whether or not they are board certified as experts in criminal defense law. Only an attorney that is board certified by the State of Texas can call themselves an expert. These attorneys only achieve board certification by meeting strict benchmarks related to trial experience as well as passing a difficult examination. The skills an attorney must demonstrate include the ability to:
- Analyze, sort, and use facts; plan and direct factual investigations;
- Analyze and apply legal rules and principles;
- Communicate effectively and persuasively to clients, attorneys, and judges;
- Evaluate the merits of a case;
- Represent a client ethically; and
- Conduct a jury trial.
Board certified experts in criminal defense law are rare. There have been approximately 7,000 attorneys certified as experts in any area of the law in the entire State of Texas since 1972. That is only a fraction of the nearly 100,000 licensed attorneys in the State of Texas. When you hire a board-certified expert in criminal law to defend your child, you can rest assured that they have demonstrated the skill and experience necessary to be a strong advocate in a Houston drug crimes case.
In addition to board certification, there are a few other things to consider when selecting an attorney for your child:
- Is this the lawyer I want presenting my child's case to a jury of their peers?
- Does the lawyer leave you feeling confident that he/she is competent?
- Does the attorney seem honest?
- Does he or she appear to genuinely have your child's best interests at heart?
- Can he or she explain complicated subject matter in a way you can easily understand?
- Is he or she receptive to questions?
Discuss Your Case with Experienced Counsel You Can Rely On
If your child has been arrested for a drug crime in the Houston area, you need an attorney that you and your child can rely on. You will have a lot of questions, and a consultation with attorney Doug Murphy can provide you with the answers you are looking for.
Doug Murphy is an experienced Houston drug crimes attorney. A Board Certified expert in criminal defense law, Doug Murphy has an extensive track record of successfully defending clients in and around Harris County, Texas. His reputation as Houston's top defense lawyer is well-earned, and the testimonials of his clients speak volumes. Contact the Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C. for a free consultation today.