Waco Criminal Defense
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Gary Cunha, P.C. Attorney and Counselor at Law
Should I talk to the police?
The short and simple answer is NO. You have a right to remain silent. Anything you say can or will be used AGAINST you. Even if you are completely innocent, it is best to remain silent and ask for an attorney.
What should I do when stopped by the police?
Put the officer at ease. Do NOT make quick movements, such as reach under the seat or into the glove box. I strongly recommend you pull your vehicle over, roll your windows down, and sit perfect still with your hands clearly visible on the steering wheel (passengers should also sit still if possible). The officer may ask you to turn off your vehicle. If the weather would make it unsafe to do so (particularly if you have children in the car), I would politely ask if you can leave it running to keep the A/C or heat on, but ultimately you will have to comply with the officer if he demands you turn off the car. When the officer asks for identification, let him know before you reach for it ("my license is in my wallet"). Move slowly and calmly. If you have a concealed handgun permit you must give it to the officer with your license. Many times an officer will ask you something like "do you know why I stopped you?" Remember anything you say will be used against you, so it is best to politely say no and leave it at that. Let the officer talk, not you. Remember you may be on video with sound recording and this recording will be played in court. Also remember that arguing with, yelling at, or otherwise being rude will guarantee you will receive a citation (or more than one). While there are no guarantees you will not be ticketed, you increase the chances of receiving a warning or reduced ticket when you are polite.
What if I am involved in a self-defense shooting?
This can be a nightmare. Expect to be arrested. There is some question whether you have a duty to call 911 and speak (which violates your 5th Amendment right to remain silent). Remember your adrenaline will be pumping and you will likely be agitated and unable to concentrate. It is best to remain silent and ask for an attorney. If you are not already a member, I strongly urge you to join the USCCA (link on our links page).
What do I do in a family-violence assault case?
First of all, if it is just a small disagreement and no one is hurt, I do not recommend calling 911. If you call 911 expect at least one person to be arrested. If there is no actual assault or harm done, calling 911 will just result in arrest and prosecution and you will be spending money to try to get the charges dismissed. There are a large number of these cases where the victim wants charges dropped but the state continues prosecution (often because of statements made by the parties at the scene - see question #1 above!). Bottom line, if you have an abusive or dangerous family member, call the police. If you have a minor argument (like many couples have), do not waste the police's time.