Weíve all heard the Miranda warning on television and in movies. What you rarely see is how often people are arrested and not read their rights. The police donít have to read a suspect the Miranda warning at the time of arrest. Only if the police want to question a suspect is it necessary. If you are contacted by a police officer or a law enforcement officer and asked to make a statement, you should seek the advice of an attorney, and you may want to be accompanied by an attorney during your statement. Prior to arrest and even after the arrest, you do not have to talk to a law enforcement officer. THAT IS YOUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT.
The punishment of a crime sometimes involves only a fine or sometimes involves both a possible jail time and a fine. If you have been charged with a criminal offense, it is important that you at least seek legal advice before trying to handle the matter without legal representation. Even a misdemeanor such as Driving While Intoxicated or Assault can result in being sentenced to serve some time in jail. There is a danger to representing yourself. Remember the old advice that a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client. Itís even a worse risk for a person who is not a lawyer
If you have been charged with a felony, the court will require you to hire an attorney or, if you cannot afford one, the court will appoint an attorney for you. That attorney is provided to you by the State which is charging you with a crime. If an attorney is appointed for you, you have no part in the decision of who represents you. The choice of who represents you is important and that decision should be weighed carefully.
If you are arrested, the first step will be posting bail to get out of jail. If the bail is too high, you do have a right to request the State to present evidence to the Court to justify their decision to charge you. You will also be given an opportunity to reduce your bail. Bondsmen usually charge a down payment plus, upon release, you will have to pay a monthly payment and report to your bondsman on a periodic basis. If you are bonded out by a bondsman, your failure to pay or to report could result in the bondsman going off your bond and a new warrant being issued for your arrest.
Once you have bonded out, you should receive notice of a hearing. For misdemeanors, the County Clerk will mail you a postcard or letter advising you of the date of your arraignment. For felonies, the State has to present its evidence to a Grand Jury who decides whether to issue an indictment. The newspaper in Wichita Falls usually provides a list of persons indicted by the Wichita County Grand Jury in the front section of the next morningís paper. Your bondsman or attorney will then receive notice of an arraignment. In Wichita County, if you are represented by an attorney, you may not have to appear at the arraignment. If you are not represented by an attorney, you must appear at the arraignment. Failure to appear at any hearing scheduled in your case could result in a bond forfeiture and in the court issuing a warrant for your arrest.
The criminal justice process can be very complicated, confusing, and maybe even frightening. If you have any doubts or concerns about what is happening, you should contact an attorney for advice and guidance. Rafuse Law Firm, P.C. will meet with you and discuss your case and the consultation will be free. Only if you decide to hire our firm, will there be any charge for our services.