An arrest is always stressful and frightening, raising worries about the possible consequences of a conviction and jail time. But if the police arrest you and you realize that you can't remember what happened the next day, you may be even more concerned. How can you defend yourself if you have no idea what you did or didn't do? But this arrest isn't something you must handle on your own. An expert in criminal defense law like attorney Doug Murphy can aggressively defend you and protect your rights regardless of the holes in your memory.
What Do I Do After a Houston Arrest?
Knowing what to do after an arrest can help protect you and your rights.
- Don't Talk to Police: If you're arrested in Houston, it's important to remember that you don't have to talk to the police. Aside from providing basic information about who you are, you are under no obligation to answer their questions. The Fifth Amendment protects you from being forced to incriminate yourself.
- Request an Attorney: You also have the right to an attorney. If you're arrested, you should invoke this right as soon as possible and not answer police questions until your attorney arrives.
- Remain Calm: It's also important to remain calm and be cordial. Even if you don't answer police questions, you should remain polite and cooperative.
- Don't Give Permission to Search: You also should not give the police permission to search your car or home, depending on the circumstances of your stop or arrest. Although the police may perform some limited searches incident to your arrest, make them get a warrant for anything else.
How Can an Attorney Help?
Even if you have little memory of your arrest and the events leading up to it, a good defense attorney can help piece the events back together. By using police reports, video, reports of eyewitnesses, cameras in the area, and interviewing any companions or proprietors, your attorney can help jog your memory and help you figure out what happened.
- Police Reports Police reports from your arrest will contain details of how, when, and where the police stopped you, whether someone called them to the scene, eyewitnesses on hand, and any information you provided before, during, and after your arrest. Moreover, your attorney can use the details in the police reports to challenge the credibility of witnesses and officers if the details don't match other evidence, like eyewitness accounts and video.
- Police Dash Cam and Body Cam Video Fortunately, most police officers wear body cameras, recording interactions and the arrest of suspects. Most police cars also have dashboard cameras that capture stops and anything that happens in front of the vehicle. Your attorney can request this video to help piece together the events leading up to your arrest. Moreover, a good defense attorney may also be able to compare these events to police reports and police testimony.
- Other Video Many businesses and homes also have outdoor and indoor video security systems. If your defense attorney acts quickly, they may be able to secure video of your arrest or events that happened earlier in the evening. Your attorney can use this video to support your defense but also to identify potential eyewitnesses or other elements that may support your defense.
Constitutional Defenses: Your defense attorney can also protect your rights throughout the process, raising additional constitutional defenses on your behalf. Some examples of constitutional defenses include:
- Reasonable Suspicion: The police can only pull you over if they have “reasonable suspicion” that you committed a crime. Police have reasonable suspicion for a stop if they have a reasonable belief, given the circumstances, that you broke the law. This standard is lower than probable cause. The police can use something as simple as failing to stop at a stop sign as “reasonable suspicion” to pull you over.
- Probable Cause: Similarly, if the police don't have probable cause to arrest you, your arrest and any evidence acquired, as a result, may be invalid. Under the Fourth Amendment and Supreme Court precedent, the police only have probable cause for an arrest or to obtain a blood sample if they have a reasonable belief, considering all the facts and circumstances, that you committed a criminal act. This belief must be based on facts, not gut instinct.
- Failure to Give a Miranda Warning: When they arrest you, police must warn you that you have the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. If they fail to give you this “Miranda warning,” anything incriminating you say to them after your arrest may not be admissible in court. A good defense attorney will know when and how to challenge any evidence obtained from this violation of your constitutional rights. Similarly, if you were so incapacitated that you couldn't understand your rights, your attorney may also be able to challenge any evidence obtained after your arrest.
You Need an Expert in Criminal Defense Law
If you're facing an arrest and charges in Houston, you need an expert in criminal defense as soon as possible. Attorney Doug Murphy is a Board Certified expert in both Criminal Defense and DWI Defense. In fact, Doug is one of only two Texas attorneys with board certifications in both these specialty areas of the law.
Doug is also well-regarded by his fellow attorneys in the Houston area. Recognizing his expertise, Best Lawyers in America also recently named Doug a “Lawyer of the Year” for 2023 Houston DWI defense. This prestigious award from U.S. News & World Report comes from the nominations and votes of his peers in the Houston legal community. Doug and his team have been defending the people of Houston from criminal charges for years. The Houston media have called Doug “the drinking man's best friend.” Find out how he can help you. Call the Doug Murphy Law Firm at 713-229-8333 or contact them online to schedule your consultation.