Dealing with criminal charges can be scary and frustrating but you need to understand that every decision you make regarding you and your criminal case will have consequences. Criminal convictions can have a disastrous effect not only in the short-term, but also in the long-term.
You need to be able to foresee the possible consequences of each decision made during your case. That’s what your attorney does. We pride ourselves on doing this effectively. We make sure every client receives the same solid representation regardless of the type of case. If you have a pending criminal case call us the Nag Law Firm at 817-350-4388.
We believe in truth and knowledge here at the Nag Law Firm in Arlington, Texas. As such, we have compiled some of the most common questions we have seen here in Arlington, Mansfield, Fort Worth, and Dallas. Read below for some general information.
Do I Have To Let A Police Officer In If They Want To Search My Home In Arlington, Texas?
Police are not allowed to enter your home unless they have a search or arrest warrant. Police require only an arrest warrant to enter the home of the person named on the arrest warrant. An arrest warrant and a search warrant is required if you are at persons home other than your own. Without a warrant the only way law enforcement may enter is with your consent or if a warrant exception applies. They will not likely be asking you for permission if a warrant exception applies since the exceptions only apply to exigent circumstances. If they are asking you for permission to enter your home you may respectfully decline at which time they will be forced to obtain a warrant.
What Kind Of Proof Or Evidence Does A Cop Need To Arrest Me? Search Me? Is It Different In Dallas County or Tarrant County?
Arrest: A cop may arrest you if he has probable cause to believe that an individual has committed any criminal offense in his presence, regardless of the seriousness of the offense or the punishment. Probable cause is determined by whether the facts and circumstances would justify a reasonable officer to believe that there is a fair probability of criminal activity. Fair probability is more than bare suspicion but less than evidence which would result in a conviction.
Search: A cop must have reasonable suspicion in order to stop you. Reasonable suspicion is a reasonable belief that criminal activity is in progress. Determining whether there is reasonable suspicion requires that we ask ourselves whether the facts and circumstances would justify a reasonable officer to believe that there is criminal activity in progress. The officer may stop you only for the duration required to determine if his reasonable suspicion was accurate or not. If it was accurate he may arrest you since that will provide him with the probable cause that is required to make a lawful arrest but if it was inaccurate you are free to go. Once a cop has stopped you he may only search you if he has reasonable suspicion that you are armed and dangerous. This search is limited to a pat down search of the outside of your clothing only for weapons. Although the police officer is only searching for weapons which may be a threat to him or others,he may seize drugs and contraband if he feels them as long as it was immediately apparent what the items were underneath the clothing. It must be immediately apparent to the police officer without manipulation that the item in your pocket is drugs or contraband.
Search Incident To Arrest: A police officer may also search you after you have been arrested for any offense so long as it is a lawful arrest. A lawful arrest requires that the officer have probable cause or an arrest warrant. The officer must perform the search contemporaneously with the arrest.
It doesn’t matter if the police are in Arlington, Mansfield, Dallas, Fort Worth, Keller, Southlake, Grapevine, Irving, Las Colinas or Lewisville. These rules apply to all of Texas and all police officers, regardless of where they are from must follow these rules.
I Have Some Immigration Problems And I Am Also In Trouble With Police Here In Dallas/Fort Worth; Will I Be Deported?
Find more about Immigration Deportation in Arlington, Texas and Mansfield, Texas by clicking here. Deportation is being removed and sent back to your home country after already having been admitted into the United States. Inadmissibility takes place at the border when you are seeking to be admitted into the United States and are refused entry. Any alien that has been admitted to the United States may be deported if he is convicted of a crime of moral turpitude within 5 years of his admission into the United States. Being deported requires a conviction unlike inadmissibility to the United States which only requires that you have admitted to committing the elements that make up a crime of moral turpitude that you were charged with.
You may also be deported for multiple convictions of crimes of moral turpitude regardless of what year the convictions occurred as long as both crimes did not happen in a single scheme of criminal misconducts.
What Does A Crime of Moral Turpitude Mean?
A crime of moral turpitude is an act of vileness or depravity in the private and social duties which a man owes to his fellow men, or to society in general, contrary to the accepted and customary rule of right and duty between man and man. Crimes of moral turpitude include murder, fraud and voluntary manslaughter.
I Was Arrested Here In Dallas/Fort Worth & I Am Innocent; What Should I Do?
First, call us. If you have been charged with a crime, been arrested, or are being questioned as a possible suspect in a crime you should consult an attorney and not talk to anyone without your attorney. You should consult an attorney as soon as possible even if you are innocent in order to better your chances of a positive outcome.
Hiring an attorney earlier will increase the chances that your attorney may be able to convince the prosecutor that there is not enough evidence to file charges or maybe help increase the chances of negotiating in order to reduce the charges before its too late. You may choose to represent yourself or choose to use court appointed counsel. Self-representation is not recommended since it is risky and rarely successful.
Using the public defender would be a better choice than self representation but the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics has shown that a higher percentage of defendants with public defenders have been convicted than those that used hired counsel. Not hiring an attorney may save you money in the short run but you should always think about the long term consequences. An attorney is more familiar with the justice system and its inner workings and will be able to use his knowledge and experience to better represent you in court. Your freedom and innocence are very important and you should hire an attorney if you find yourself in legal problems regardless of being innocent because sometimes the justice system fails resulting in the incarceration of innocent people.
Do I Have To Talk To The Mansfield or Arlington Police Once I’m Arrested?
Not without your lawyer. Ask for a lawyer. You must be informed of your Miranda rights if you are in custody and the police are going to try to obtain any type of incriminating evidence from you. If you are both in custody and going to be interrogated the state must inform you that you have the right to remain silent, that what you say may be used against you, that you have the right to an attorney and that if you cannot afford an attorney one may be provided to you.
You must make it clear that you want to invoke the right to remain silent and/or the right to an attorney. You have to say “I want my attorney.” Failing to clearly invoke your right to remain silent or right to counsel can be very bad for you because law enforcement is not required to attempt to clarify if you are invoking your rights or not. If you invoke your right to remain silent the police must stop the interrogation but may re-initiate the interrogation after a break. However, if you invoke your right to an attorney only you may re-initiate the interrogation until your attorney is present.
What’s The Process Once I’m Arrested In Texas?
You may be arrested by a warrant or if law enforcement has probable cause that you have committed a crime. Once you are arrested you must be told your Miranda rights. Your Miranda rights are that you have the right to remain silent, what you say may be used against you, you have the right to an attorney and that if you cannot afford an attorney one may be provided to you.
Once you are arrested and taken into custody you will be booked into a facility. Booking involves confiscating and inventorying your personal effects, obtaining your personal information, searching you which may involve a strip search, photographing and fingerprinting. There will be a phone available for you to call out.
Who Or What Is A Bail Bondsman In Texas?
A bail bondsman is a person or corporation that takes responsibility for a person who has been taken to the local police station for booking or to the county jail. The bail bondsman promises to pay bail for the client who is in custody. In exchange for promising to pay bail to have the client released they charge the client 10% of the bail amount. Once they have posted the bail bond they are entitled to that 10% and that is how they make their money–so yes they keep the 10%.
Bail may then be set along with a court date. It is required that you appear before a judge within 48 hours if you are in custody unless you were arrested on a weekend possibly resulting in a longer wait. Judges look at the seriousness of the crime, your criminal record, and to your ties to close relatives and the community to determine whether bail will be set for your release. The judge may deny bail altogether if he thinks that you may attempt to flee the jurisdiction. If bail is permitted, you may pay the bail amount or a bail bondsman may promise to pay the bond for you if you fail to appear in court in exchange for a percentage of the total bail.
If charged with a misdemeanor you will most likely by arraigned in county court and presented with the charges against you. Your rights will be read to you and then you will be allowed to enter a plea if represented by counsel.
If charged with a felony you must appear in district court. Serious felony charges must be filed by indictment in front of a grand jury.
You must enter a plea of guilty meaning that you admit the charges, not guilty meaning that you did not commit the offense or no contest meaning that you are not admitting that you are guilty but not contesting the charges. You may also enter a mute plea which is a not guilty plea that allows you to contest whether the criminal process against you has been handled properly to this point.
What Is Plea Bargaining?
The majority of criminal cases are settled through plea bargaining. If you have ever had a case in Dallas County, Johnson, Ellis, Denton or Tarrant County, you will know that well over 90% of all criminal cases are settled through a plea-bargain. If accused of a crime you may plead guilty or no contest to reduced charges, a reduced sentence or dismissal of charges. Think “let’s make a deal.” They offer you something, then you refuse and counter. It all depends on the evidence and for what you are being charged.
What Is A Pre-Sentence Investigation?
After you negotiate a plea or are found guilty the court will usually order a pre-sentence investigation to be done in order to assist the court in determining what sentence they will impose on you. Extenuating circumstances may help reduce the length of the sentence but a history of crime in your record may increase the length of the sentence. The court will then review the pre-sentence report along with any additional information the defense would like the court to take into consideration before the sentencing hearing.
The sentencing hearing will consist of both sides having the opportunity to have witnesses make statements to support their position. The defendant will also have an opportunity to address the court but is not required to do so.
The state has the burden of proving to the jury that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If found guilty you may be sentenced to imprisonment, probation, fines, restitution, and community service.