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Criminal Law FAQs

“No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we ask him to obey it. Obedience to the law is demanded as a right; not asked as a favor.” - Theodore Roosevelt

Q: Should I agree to a Breathalyzer Test?

A: Only if you have had no alcohol or very, very low amounts of alcohol. Otherwise, refuse.

Q: Do I have to submit to the "Tests" the Officer puts me through (e.g. Tracking his pen with my eyes, standing on one foot, reciting the alphabet backwards, tipping my head back and telling him when 30 seconds has expired, etc.)?

A: No. These tests are subjective and the accuracy can be affected by many variables that have nothing to do with alcohol. If you have been drinking, politely refuse to participate, politely explain that the tests are inaccurate and subjective, politely do not say any more than you must, and politely ask to speak to an attorney. Did I mention you should be polite?

Q: What should I do if I am arrested?

A: Again, politely ask to speak to an attorney. Do not answer any questions and do not consent to any searches without a search warrant. Do not discuss the facts with anyone but your attorney, especially anyone else in jail or with anyone over the phone. Phone calls from jail may be monitored and/or recorded.

Whey you are allowed to make a phone call, call a friend or a family member that can help you post bond and hire a good lawyer. Hiring a good lawyer will increase your chances of receiving a more-favorable outcome. If forced to make a decision between posting bond and hiring a lawyer, consider the long-term benefit of hiring a good lawyer.

Q: Should I have a Court Appointed Attorney instead of hiring my own?

A: If you are arrested, it is ALWAYS in your best interest to hire an attorney. Even if you do not think that you are guilty, and especially if you are, it is better to have someone with experience in criminal matters representing you and protecting your rights. Obviously, if you cannot afford an attorney, a Court Appointed Attorney is better than no attorney. But wouldn't you rather hire an experienced attorney that will fight for your rights?

Q: How do I get a Court Appointed Attorney on a criminal matter?

A: The law requires a judge to let you know that you have the right to get a court appointed attorney if you cannot afford to hire one, making the process fairly straightforward. You can generally only receive a court appointed attorney if you've been charged with something that you may receive jail time for, though there are exceptions. Tell the judge during your initial hearing, often called the arraignment, that you want a court-appointed attorney. The judge will ask you to provide financial information under oath, often in writing and verbally. In general, if you can prove that you cannot afford an attorney, the judge will appoint an attorney for you.

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Robert D. Clements, Jr. and Associates represents clients seeking legal advice for issues such as divorce, child custody, personal injury, probate, insurance litigation, and business litigation throughout southeast Texas, including Brazoria County, Galveston County, Harris County, Fort Bend County, Sugar Land, and Richmond.

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