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Basic answers to common questions about an arrest

The average person in San Antonio doesn’t have any significant experience with the criminal justice system. A lot of people might be able to look back and identify times when maybe they received a traffic ticket that perhaps required making a court appearance.

Such situations, as serious as they may seem to be, are a far cry from what is possible. For the most part, awareness of what could happen if you have been arrested is probably limited to what you have seen through the make-believe eyes of some TV screenwriter. So, here are some real-life answers to some common questions.

  • Under what conditions can police arrest me? First, they have to have evidence that a crime has been committed. But in addition, they have to be able to show that they have probable cause to suspect you are responsible.
  • Does being arrested mean I will be taken off in handcuffs? Not necessarily. There are different ways police can make an arrest. An officer saying, “You’re under arrest,” might be sufficient. And if you go voluntarily, restraints might not be used. If you aren’t seen as a flight risk, you might not be taken into custody at all. In such cases, you might receive a letter from the District Attorney’s Office saying you’re expected to appear for an arraignment. You also could get a letter asking that you turn yourself in.
  • Should I remain silent? You have the right to not talk to police when questioned. It’s generally a good idea to exercise that right and speak with an attorney before saying anything or signing any statement put in front of you. Even if you don’t think you are the focus of investigation, something you say or sign could wind up being used against you if you are arrested.

These things can be helpful to know any time you interact with authorities. And if you have questions, rather than rely on police to give you the right answers, you should be speaking with an experienced attorney.

Source: FindLaw, “Common Criminal Law Questions,” accessed Jan. 15, 2016