Arrested in Houston? See How a Criminal Lawyer Can Help.
No one plans to fall into legal trouble and navigating the aftermath of an arrest is certainly no easy task. Following an arrest, you are likely unsure of how to proceed and what responsibilities you are now faced with. Knowing what to do after an arrest in Houston and being well-informed of the process is powerful. Ultimately, this can make a great difference in how your case is handled.
At the Law Office of Nathaniel Pitoniak, we help our clients through this complicated and stressful process, ensuring that their rights are upheld every step of the way. Enduring the arrest process alone is daunting, but it does not need to be overwhelming. With the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney, it is possible to lessen the impact of arrest and regain control of your life. Consider calling us today for a free consultation at (832) 315-6283 to learn more about how we can help.
What is the Arrest Process in Harris County?
Like any other state, Texas has specific laws and procedures put in place to govern the arrest process. To make an arrest, law enforcement must have a reason. Specifically, law enforcement must have “probable cause” to make an arrest. In other words, they must suspect you of a crime and have a justifiable reason to believe that you committed that crime. Typically, law enforcement will utilize one or more procedures to justify the arrest, such as a warrant, interrogation, or seizure of property.
An arrest occurs when a person is placed under restraint and taken into custody by a police officer. In practice, this takes the form of a person being placed in handcuffs and transported to a local or county jail, where they will be booked and held for a specified amount of time. Whether a person is sent to a local police department’s jail, or the Harris County jail depends on which police department arrests them. If arrested by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, then the arrestee will be taken directly to the county jail.
When a person is being placed under arrest, the following process will occur:
- Law enforcement will inform the individual that they are under arrest, handcuffs will be placed on the person being arrested, and law enforcement officer will state the crime that the person is being charged with
- The person will be transported to a local or county jail for booking. If the person is being arrested under the premise of driving while intoxicated, they will be taken to a testing area to measure blood alcohol content.
- The person will be interviewed by a jail officer, who will gather personal details and make a copy of the person’s fingerprints. A photograph will also be taken.
- All personal items belonging to the arrestee (including wallet and cellphone) will be taken, catalogued, and stored within the jail
Regardless of specific circumstances of the situation, the individual who is being placed under arrest will be made aware of the reason for the arrest. Importantly, the person being arrested is under no obligation to make statements or respond to any claims made by law enforcement. The only information that you must provide is your name, address, birthdate, and social security number. Any further questioning from law enforcement does not require a response. In fact, silent cooperation can be one of the most beneficial strategies that a person can use when being arrested. Remember, anything you say while being arrested or while in custody can (and likely will) be used against you later on in the court process.
What Is the Court Process in Harris County?
The actual arrest process is only one piece of the puzzle. The question of what to do after an arrest depends largely on the court process, however, as this is where most of the decisions are made. After a person is arrested and booked in jail, they will be provided with a court date. Before the court date is provided, the Harris County Pretrial Services will generate a score that reflects how likely or unlikely a person is to actually appear in court if they are released on bond. If their score is low and they can afford bail, a person can opt to be transferred out of police custody and released on the promise to attend the court date.
The person’s first appearance in court is typically an arraignment, where a judge will explain their charges and they will plead either guilty, no contest, or not guilty. Not guilty pleas at the most common at this stage, as this plea provides legal counsel with more time to build a case and lessen charges. Following the arraignment, a person may be released from custody after posting bail or on their own recognizance. Otherwise, they will be returned to jail.
Regardless of the outcome, this is the point in the process when a person will be instructed to either seek legal representation or proceed without a lawyer. In the time after the arraignment and before the next court date, the person’s legal counsel will build the case. At the Law Office of Nathaniel Pitoniak, this includes negotiating charges, minimizing the impact of the conviction, and ensuring that all evidence brought against the person is permissible and legal.
Understanding What To Do After an Arrest With the Law Office of Nathaniel Pitoniak
From the initial moment of arrest all the way to arraignment and court hearings, it is incredibly important to act carefully and avoid pitfalls during the process. One mere error of speech of misstep is all it takes to result in devastating consequences. Seeking legal assistance can make a major difference in avoiding these consequences and mitigating the penalties of the crime.
At the Law Office of Nathaniel Pitoniak, we leverage our years of experience to create better outcomes and futures for our clients. We serve as trusted advisors, skilled negotiators, and aggressive litigators in the event of trial. For this reason, we are confident in our ability to help our clients navigate what to do after an arrest in Houston. If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges in Harris County, you are not alone. Consider calling the Law Office of Nathaniel Pitoniak today at (832) 315-6283 for a free consultation and more information about how we can help you.