Don’t Count on the Police to Protect Your Rights in Custody
When police officers have probable cause to believe that a person has committed a crime, they can legally detain that person. If you end up in custody, you should not count on the police to safeguard your rights. In many instances the opposite happens. Your first step should be to request that an attorney be present as soon as possible and wait to talk to the police until your lawyer is with you. It is important to try to limit the amount of time spent in custody.
The Fort Worth criminal defense lawyers at Cofer Luster Law Firm can explain your legal rights and be present on your behalf during police questioning – and throughout your entire criminal case. Our team will work to help get you out of police custody and achieve the best available result in your case.
Police Custody Statistics
Unfortunately, deaths, including homicides and suicides, happen in police custody in Texas and elsewhere. As recently as 2018, federal law enforcement agencies reported 448 deaths among individuals held in police custody, as well as 53 arrest-related deaths. Of the arrest-related deaths that occurred in the fiscal year of 2018 to 2019, more than half were homicides. Approximately one-fifth – 22 percent – were suicides.
Among those individuals who died while they spent time in police custody, approximately 93 percent were male, 78 percent were aged 25 to 54, and 75 percent were Caucasian. Finally, in more than 50 percent of these arrest-related deaths, the decedent was facing criminal charges of a violent nature.
How a Lawyer Can Help You During a Police Interrogation
The most obvious way to avoid issues while in custody is to limit time in custody. That’s where a lawyer can be especially helpful.
Before a police officer questions you, the officer must inform you of your rights. Specifically, the officer must tell you that you have the right to remain silent, that anything you say could be used against you in court, that you have a right to the presence of legal counsel during questioning, and that if you cannot afford an attorney, the court will provide one for you.
If a police officer arrests and detains you, you should not answer questions without consulting with an attorney, either in person or via telephone. The police and investigators can use what you say against you. When a police officer starts to interrogate you about the incident, you should immediately request that your attorney be present. Your lawyer can help you navigate the interrogation.
How an Attorney Can Help at a Bail Hearing
Once you are arrested for an offense, you will likely see a judge who will set a bond and possibly bond conditions. A knowledgeable Fort Worth criminal defense attorney can help you seek a reduction in that bond amount or an amendment to your conditions. Upon a motion from the defense, the court may set these matters for a hearing. At the hearing, the judge will determine whether to release you on a personal bond, reduce your bond amount, or make changes to the conditions. When making this determination, the judge will consider a variety of factors, including the nature of the offense, prior failures to appear for court, prior convictions, connections to the community, and whether or not you are a likely flight risk. A knowledgeable Fort Worth criminal defense lawyer can represent you at this hearing and make compelling arguments on your behalf.
If you are able to post your bond, either in cash or by paying a bondsman a percentage to post it for you, you will be released from police custody until your trial date. The court may order that you be supervised on bond caseload or pretrial supervision, during which time you must comply with additional court orders, such abstaining from drugs and alcohol while you are pending trial. Your lawyer can be your advocate at a bond hearing and will do everything possible to help you avoid prolonged police custody at a detention center.
Talk with a Fort Worth Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
The skilled legal team at Cofer Luster Law Firm can assist you at every stage of your criminal case. For a free case evaluation and legal consultation, please call us at 682-777-3336 or contact us online for more information.