Whether you’ve been arrested for a crime, were charged by the police out of custody, or know that you’re under criminal investigation, you need to take your defense seriously. Depending on the severity of the charges, even a first-time arrest can lead to jail or prison, fines, and a criminal record. As a Houston criminal defense attorney, George Napier of the Napier Law Firm has taken on and won some very difficult criminal cases. Attorney Napier does extensive research when building his clients’ defenses and uses his years of skill and legal acumen to win. Contact him today to discuss your charges and the prosecutorial case against you.
Criminal Defense Law in Texas
Like all jurisdictions in the United States, in Texas, the defendant is innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. An effective criminal defense attorney will work on developing that doubt about the prosecutorial case. To this end, there are a number of strategies that have been proven effective. Make no mistake, though. The police and prosecutors in greater Houston have the experience and resources to prosecute cases. If you don’t have diligent, aggressive legal representation, you could be facing some very serious consequences.
Criminal Defense Strategies
Police officers are trained to collect evidence, develop probable cause, and make arrests, but because criminal law is complex, they frequently make errors or take shortcuts that could cost them the case. Any procedural mistake can be an opening for a sharp criminal defense lawyer, like Mr. Napier, to get the charges reduced or dropped. When examining a police report or probable cause affidavit, your attorney will pay particular attention to these aspects of the case.
Legality of the Stop
Most arrests begin with some sort of stop, whether it’s in a vehicle, you’re walking down the street, or the police show up at your home. The police don’t need reasonable suspicion just to talk to you in a consensual encounter, but if they detain you in any way, they need a reason. Here are some of the legally valid reasons for stops:
- The officer witnessed a traffic violation or faulty equipment on your vehicle.
- The officer has reason to believe that you were involved in a crime (i.e. you match a description, damage on your car matches a hit and run, etc.).
- There is a warrant for your arrest.
- You are stopped in a legally sanctioned checkpoint (i.e. DUI, suspended license check, etc.).
- You are being detained for a police show-up per Terry v. Ohio, otherwise known as a Terry stop.
- You’ve been involved in a non-criminal incident, such as a traffic crash.
If the police stop you without reason, any evidence that they obtain will be inadmissible in court.
Search and Seizure
The Fourth Amendment covers a broad range of protections against illegal search and seizure. The police cannot search you, your property, or your vehicle without your permission. There are, however, some exceptions:
- If the police have a valid search warrant, they can conduct a search of anything contained within the framework of the warrant.
- The police can search your person and the immediate area around you (lunging distance) if you’ve been arrested.
- If there is an exigency, such as a person in distress, the police can conduct a search to end the exigency. They may not, however, exceed the scope of that search.
- The police can conduct an inventory search of a vehicle if they are towing it. This does not include a locked trunk or glove compartment.
- The police can conduct a patdown for safety if they have reason to believe that you have a weapon in your possession.
Any violation of your Fourth Amendment rights could lead to a suppression of evidence or an acquittal.
Contrary to popular belief, the police do not have to advise you of your Miranda Rights in order to make a valid arrest. The Miranda Rights only apply to custodial interrogation. If the police have you stopped, detained, handcuffed, or in a police facility, and you aren’t free to walk away or leave, they cannot question you without reading the Miranda Warning. Among other things, these rights advise you that you have the right to not answer self-incriminating questions. If the police make procedural violations when questioning a detained subject, any statements would be considered a coerced statement.
Lack of Evidence
Police officers sometimes get ahead of themselves when pursuing an arrest. Sometimes they’ll push the boundaries of probable cause and make an arrest prematurely before they’ve developed all of the evidence that they need to get a conviction. Many times, the prosecutor will decline a case for lack of evidence, in which case, your charges are dropped. But sometimes it takes the trained eye of a seasoned criminal defense lawyer to see the flaws in the prosecutorial case.
These are just a few examples of criminal defenses that we examine at the Napier Law Firm. Every case is different and requires a unique defense strategy.
Why Choose a Private Criminal Defense Lawyer in Fort Bend?
If you’ve been charged with a crime, you could be facing jail time, fines, and carrying a criminal record that could impede your success. You need a solid criminal defense if you hope to beat your charges. The public defenders who work in Fort Bend County are dedicated and hardworking public servants, but they often lack the time and resources to aggressively pursue your defense. Most public defenders have large caseloads and are under constant pressure to take more. That means that they have to negotiate for plea deals with the prosecutor.
A private defense lawyer, like George Napier, on the other hand, manages their own caseload. That means that they can take the time to depose witnesses, including the officers who made the arrest. They can also hire independent witnesses to explain the more technical aspects of a case to the jury. Not every case has to go to court. If a negotiated plea is in your best interest, Attorney Napier will advise you of that option. Ultimately, that decision is yours.
Fort Bend Criminal Defense Attorney George Napier
With an unparalleled record of success, criminal defense attorney George Napier fights for the rights of his clients. Whether you believe you’re guilty of a crime or not, you’re entitled to the best defense available. In the Fort Bend area, that means George Napier. Contact our office to discuss the details or your case and to begin building an ironclad defense.