Knowing that a warrant is out for your arrest can be stressful. When a person has a warrant, he or she may worry about the police showing up at home or making an arrest during a routine traffic stop. Conducting an Austin, Texas, warrant search may help put your mind at ease. However, if the police arrive at your door with a search warrant in hand, it will help to know what to do to protect your rights. If you have reason to believe that the police may be investigating you for a crime, consider contacting an experienced Austin criminal defense attorney at Jason S. English Law, PLLC, by calling (512) 454-7548 to schedule a consultation.
How Do I Find Out if I Have a Warrant in Austin, Texas?
When a person is concerned that there may be a warrant out for his or her arrest or that a warrant allowing a home search has been issued, being proactive can help. According to Texas State Records, in addition to conducting a name search via the website, warrant information can also be found on local government websites, at sheriff's offices, or from court clerks. If you are concerned about whether there is a warrant out for you or your loved ones, please review important information here.
Understanding Your Rights
If the police show up with a search warrant, the person named on the warrant should know his or her rights, including:
- The right to remain silent
- The right to have an attorney present
- The right to inspect the warrant
According to the United States Constitution, the Fourth Amendment grants each of us the right to be secure in our person, home, papers, and effects from searches and seizures that are unreasonable. A warrant allowing such a search can only be issued when there is probable cause. If the police have a warrant to search your home, it is important to recognize that the scope of their search is limited by the specifics outlined in that warrant. The warrant does not grant the officers permission to search wherever they choose, so be sure not to give consent. The officers will be restricted to only those areas and/or items listed on the warrant.
The Right To Remain Silent
If the police are at have a valid warrant to search your home, you are required to allow them access—within the parameters outlined in the warrant. However, you have the right to remain silent and not answer any questions other than to give identifying information. If invoking your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent, as defined in the Constitution, be sure to verbally inform the officers of the decision, which will put them on notice not to question you.
The Right To Have an Attorney Present
If a person is not under arrest, he or she has the right to leave the situation. However, if the police are conducting a home search, that person may want to be present to help ensure that they only search within the limits of the warrant. The person also has the right to contact an attorney as soon as possible to inform him or her of the search and may be able to have the attorney present during the search.
If a person is under arrest, he or she has the right to an attorney. If that person cannot afford one, he or she can request that an attorney be provided.
The Right To Inspect the Warrant
The warrant allows the police to search a specific place, which may be a person's entire home but may also only be a specific part of the home. A search warrant includes a list of the items the officers are allowed to search for. Be sure to inspect the warrant and assess where the officers are allowed to search and what they are allowed to search for. The fact that the police have a warrant to search some part of a person's home does not mean that they have the right to search for whatever evidence they can find, wherever they can find it. If you are able to observe the search, make notes of where they look and what they find in each location to share with your attorney.
Whether you are concerned that the police may have an arrest warrant out in your name and you wish to conduct an Austin, Texas, warrant search or the police have served you with a warrant to search your home, an Austin criminal defense attorney at Jason S. English Law, PLLC, may be able to help.
Upholding Your Responsibilities
In addition to having legal rights when presented with a search warrant, the recipient of a warrant also has certain responsibilities. Knowing these responsibilities can help to make the process of the search smoother. Consider the following responsibilities:
- Remain as calm and polite as possible throughout the search process
- Do not interfere with or attempt to obstruct the officers' search
- Pay attention to the specific areas and items searched in case the officers overstep their bounds or violate your rights
- Respond truthfully to any questions that you choose to answer
If You Are Arrested
If the search warrant leads to the recipient's arrest, the next steps he or she takes can play a critical role in the outcome of the case. Therefore, it is important to have a clear understanding of the following:
- Even if the arrest may be unfounded—or illegal—do not resist. You will have the opportunity to address any violation of your rights later
- Commit to remaining silent during police questioning and let the officers know that you are invoking your right to do so
- Ask for an attorney immediately and do not make any decisions or sign anything prior to consulting with your attorney. If using the right to make a local phone call to contact an attorney, the officers are not allowed to listen in
Contact an Experienced Austin Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If the police arrive at your door with a search warrant, it is important to know how to protect your legal rights as they conduct their search. Whether you need to perform an Austin, Texas, warrant search or the police have already served you with a search warrant, consider contacting a knowledgeable Austin criminal defense attorney at Jason S. English Law, PLLC, by calling (512) 454-7548 for more information today.