I recently wrote about the fact that many individuals are not aware that jail phone calls are recorded. As a Houston DWI Lawyer I see individuals saying things they shouldn’t and getting themselves into trouble. Unfortunately I also see people sitting in the back of police cars running their mouth for minutes and minutes at a time. This is not smart, and there are a few reasons why.
First, you should never make any statements about your case to anyone other than your attorney…period! You are never going to talk your way out of getting arrested, but you can easily talk your way into a conviction! The dumbest things you can do when arrested is talk to an officer, or make some sort of statement that is recorded and can be used against you.
Second, there are usually cameras in DWI units! Everything you say is going to be recorded. The prosecutors (along with you and your attorney) are going to get a copy of the video and all of your wonderful words are going to be there for everyone to hear. If you say dumb things, or make yourself look like a fool, the assistant district attorney working on your case is going to take notice. You can turn a perfect dismissal into a potential trial just by saying the wrong things.
Finally, if you do end up having to go to trial, the jury is potentially going to see the video and listen to your words as well. It is human nature to either instinctively like someone or not. If you make yourself look and sound like a bad person, that’s what a jury is going to perceive you as. And the last thing that you want is a jury thinking poorly of you. On the other hand, if the jury doesn’t have any rambling video of you, they are more than likely never going to hear from you. It is much better to have them know nothing about you, then to have them form an opinion based on a few seconds of anger/disappointment/fear.
Bottom line is don’t talk and be aware of your surroundings! If you are reading this it might be too late, but maybe you can tell your friends and they can tell their friends and so on. Any Houston DWI Attorney will tell you the same thing. Make them prove you’re guilty based on the evidence at hand, not on what you say. If you are arrested, contact a DWI Lawyer in Houstonwho can help you today.
Recently a person here in Harris County was looking for a DWI Attorney in Houston. This individual was a hardworking man who was genuinely concerned about money. He had been placed on probation for DWI and one of the conditions required him to place an ignition interlock device in his vehicle. Even though this cost him about $75 a month, he had to do it because it was ordered by the judge.
This individual signed a paper regarding this interlock device that had a few rules that he had to follow. Basically he could only operate a vehicle that was equipped with this device, he had to take the device in for monthly maintenance, and he was not allowed to tamper with the device or circumvent the system.
Well this person happened to be a mechanic, and he knew all the ins and outs of vehicles and machinery in general. He was having many problems with the interlock device that they had placed in his car. Sometimes it wouldn’t work, it would beep and make funny noises, and one time in particular it left him stranded. He was at a store and when he got to his vehicle the machine would not work. Since the machine wouldn’t work, the car wouldn’t turn on. So what he decided to do was use his knowledge to take the machine apart and drive to the company so they could fix it.
He drove to the company, told them what happened, and they installed a new one. What they didn’t tell him was that they were going to report him to the court for tampering with the device. The next thing he knew, he was back in court dealing with a motion to revoke his probation based on him tampering with the interlock.
This obviously doesn’t seem fair, and it’s not, but he could have handled it another way. He was concerned that if he told the company they would have to tow the car and that would cost him money, but he should have at least called. By not calling anyone it hurt his case, and called into question what really happened.
Now this person ended up hiring another DWI Lawyer in Houston, so I don’t know what happened, but I am hoping that they reinstated his probation. But it is a good reminder to follow the rules. As dumb as they may be at times, it is your life and your liberty on the line. If anything like this happens to you, or if you have any questions before you make a decision similar to his, just consult with your Houston DWI Attorney. There is a very good chance that your attorney has seen someone with a problem very similar to yours and can help.
As a Criminal Defense Attorney in Houston I often get asked, “What can I do to screw myself up in court?” There are multiple things that you can do to call negative attention to yourself in court. In this blog I am going to talk about a few of the things you can do wrong. And yes, these things do happen….frequently.
- Not Dressing Appropriately. You would not believe how many times I have had clients show up in shorts. Shorts are not appropriate for court. Neither is wearing your pants below your butt. If you walk into any court you will usually hear a bailiff giving a speech telling someone to pick up their pants and tuck in their shirt. Its court, not the club. Dress nice or you run the risk of being singled out.
- Being Late. People are late every single day, in every single court. It’s nothing new, and the judges get sick of it. You will usually get one free pass, but the second time you run the risk of getting your bond revoked. If that happens you could possibly be taken into custody and be forced to post another bond. Your bond company will not be happy with you either. And don’t say, “I had a flat tire”, or “my car broke down”….even if it’s true, just trust me.
- Your Phone Rings, You Fall Asleep, You Talk To Much, PDA! These are pretty much self-explanatory. If your phone rings everyone stares at you. If you fall asleep the bailiff wakes you up, you get scared, and everyone laughs. If you talk, they tell you to shut up or to sit in the jury box, if you are kissing on your significant other, they will call you out and kick your “sweetie” outside. All of these things do the one thing you do not want…call attention to you. Just lay low in court and be quite. There will be plenty of time for all of that once you leave court.
- Do Drugs On Bond. This usually comes into play for the people who break the rules above. If you run into a judge in a bad mood, you run the risk of being sent for a drug test. If that drug test is positive you could wind up locked up once again. You shouldn’t be doing drugs in the first place, but you especially shouldn’t be using when there is a chance that you could be sent for a drug test by a criminal judge.
Just a tip to anyone who might ever be in jail, or have a family member or friend in jail…don’t say anything you on the phone that you would not want the prosecutor handing your case to hear. Being a Houston Criminal Defense Attorney I have come across many individuals who did not know that all jail phone calls are recorded. And that’s because there is an automated voice on the phone that tells you the call is being recorded.
A perfect example is a case I heard about where the defendant swore up and down to his attorney that he was innocent. It got to the point where the attorney was convinced as well that he was telling the truth. The case dragged on for over a year until the point where it was time to take a plea deal or set it for trial. The prosecutor called the day before court and said there was some interesting jail phone calls, and that the defense attorney might want to listen to them.
Well surprise, surprise…on these phone calls, the defendant admitted guilt several times and was still running his “business” and giving directions to his people on the outside. The defense attorney got a copy, let his client listen to the calls, and they took a plea deal the next day.
The first thing this defendant did wrong was lie to his attorney. If your attorney does not know the truth, then it is extremely hard to defend the case. The second thing he did wrong was talk about private business on the jail lines. This was an extreme example, but it can come into play with even the smallest of criminal cases. You could say something that is completely innocent about your case and your words may be used against you. A lot of times words are taken out of context and things sound worse than they really are. Nothing is worse than being innocent and arrested for something you didn’t do. The last thing you want to do in this situation is say anything that might call your innocence into question.
So to sum it all up, DON’T TALK ABOUT YOUR CASE ON THE JAIL PHONES! Your family can come visit you, so can your Houston Criminal Defense Attorney. And it’s really none of your friends business! There is a proper time to discuss your case, and over the phone is not one of them. I would be willing to bet that almost every Criminal Lawyer in Houston has a story that is similar to the one above. So if you are ever in the horrible spot of being in jail, or having a loved one in jail, limit your phone conversations to anything other than your criminal case.