Being detained by law enforcement in Texas is a scary and stressful experience, even if you know that you have not committed any crimes. It is vital to know how you can protect your rights during detention to avoid or minimize criminal penalties and negative consequences.
Below, we will discuss the steps you can take to protect your rights when detained by police or taken into custody in Texas. Do not hesitate to contact our criminal defense lawyers at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard if you or a loved one has been detained by law enforcement.
Our attorneys will advocate for your best interests and rights to protect your future and freedom. Schedule a free case review by calling (254) 220-4225 today.
What’s the Difference Between Detention and Arrest?
Many people use the terms “detention” and “arrest” interchangeably. However, these two words are not synonyms. There is a difference between detention and arrest. If you have been detained or arrested, you need to understand your rights and options to know how you can protect yourself.
Detention. In order to detain you, law enforcement must have reasonable suspicion that you have been involved in criminal activity. If you have been detained, the police can ask you questions during the investigation and hold you in custody for a reasonable amount of time.
Arrest. You can be arrested when the police have probable cause to arrest you or a warrant for your arrest.
Regardless of whether you are detained or arrested, it is in your best interests to contact a Coryell County criminal defense attorney to discuss your legal options.
What to Do if You Have Been Detained by Police?
While it may be difficult to remain calm when you are about to get detained by law enforcement, you should do your best to keep a cool head and be polite with the police officers.
No matter how difficult it may be, being polite to law enforcement during a traffic stop or another encounter. If the officer sees that you are agitated or too aggressive, they may use force to detain you.
If you have been detained by police and taken into custody, you have specific rights protected by the U.S. Constitution. These rights are known as your Miranda rights, which were established in a U.S. Supreme Court opinion in Miranda v. Arizona.
Do Miranda Rights Apply in Your Case After a Detention?
Miranda rights are only applicable if you have been taken into custody. If you are suspected of being involved in criminal activity, you may be taken into custody. In that case, the police officer is legally required to read your Miranda rights, which include the following:
Your right to remain silent (previously, we talked about how you can invoke your right to remain silent when being taken into custody).
Your right to talk to a lawyer before a police interrogation.
If you cannot afford a lawyer, you have a right to ask the court to appoint one for you to protect your rights during your criminal case.
When answering questions without your attorney present, you have a right to refuse to answer at any time.
Should You Identify Yourself When Detained by Law Enforcement?
If you have been detained by law enforcement but not taken into custody, you are not legally required to identify yourself. It means that you have a right to refuse to provide your name, address, and/or date of birth when being detained.
However, if you are arrested, you are legally required to identify yourself. If you provide false information regarding your identity when being arrested or taken into custody, you can face the “failure to identify” charges.
When Can You Be Charged with Failure to Identify in Texas?
If you fail to identify yourself when legally required to do so, you could face a “failure to identify” charge, which is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a maximum fine of $4,000.
Under Texas Penal Code § 38.02, you can be charged with failure to identify when you commit a criminal offense and intentionally:
Refuse to identify yourself by providing your name, address, and/or date of birth to a police officer upon request during an arrest; or
Give inaccurate or false information regarding your identity if a law enforcement officer has lawfully arrested or detained you.
In addition, a person can face failure to identify charges if they provide a false name to a police officer who has good cause to believe that the person witnessed a criminal offense.
What to Do if Your Rights Have Been Violated During Detention?
If you believe that your rights have been violated by a law enforcement officer during your detention or arrest, do not hesitate to contact a skilled criminal defense attorney. Write down everything that happened and, if there were any witnesses, collect their contact information.
When you argue that your constitutional rights have been violated, but the officer says that they acted lawfully, it may be your word against the officer’s word. In such cases, it is imperative to contact a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney to protect your interest and ensure that the officer is held accountable for violating your rights during your detention.
The charges against you may be dismissed if it can be proven that the officer acted unlawfully or violated your constitutional rights. A police officer is legally required to read you your Miranda rights when you are taken into custody before questioning you. If you are interrogated before being informed of your Miranda rights, any information collected during the interrogation cannot be used as admissible evidence in your criminal case.
Being arrested or detained is a scary experience, but it is vital to know your rights. Schedule a free case review with our criminal defense attorneys at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard to discuss your particular case and determine if your rights have been violated during your detention. Call (254) 220-4225 to receive a consultation today.