El Paso County Public Defender
500 E. San Antonio
El Paso, Texas 79901
Phone (915) 546-8185
Fax (915) 534-8186
El Paso County Public Defender
- Know your rights!
- Every person in the United States has the following rights:
- 1. The right to remain silent.
- This means that you do not have to say anything to police officers or anyone else if you are accused breaking the law.
- 2. The right to an attorney.
- If you are indigent and cannot afford an attorney, one will appointed for you. If you are arrested and charged with most crimes, any you cannot afford to hire a lawyer, the United States Constitution requires than the State of Texas appoint an attorney to represent you.
- 3. The right to have an attorney present during questioning by police (law enforcement).
- If you do decide that you want to talk to police officers, and give up your right to remain silent, you can have an attorney in the room with you to advise you on the possible legal consequences of anything that you say.
- In addition, the Texas Constitution also gives accused individuals:
- The right to terminate an interview by law enforcement at any time.
This means that if you start to talk to police officers, and then decide that you no longer want to continue talking to the police officers, then you can stop the interview at any time.
- The Geneva Convention on Consular Relations also guarantees the right:
- To speak with a representative from your country's Consulate prior to any questioning by police officers if you are a citizen of another country, including a Mexican citizen who is a permanent resident in the United States. This is a right which United States citizens also have if they are accused of a crime in another country. The purpose of this protection is to be sure a person accused of a crime in a foreign country knows their rights, is provided legal representation, and is informed of the laws in that country.
- You DO NOT have to consent to a search of your car, possessions, or your home. More importantly, the fact that you refuse to allow members of law enforcement to search your home does not mean that you are guilty; it only means that you are claiming your constitutional right not to be subject to unreasonable searches.
- If you are stopped for driving while intoxicated,
- you may be asked to submit to a breath analysis to determine the amount of alcohol in your system. If you submit to the breath analysis test and the machine indicates that your blood alcohol is above .10 (the legal limit in Texas), your driver's license will be suspended for at least 60 days and you will probably be taken to jail, and the police will have scientific evidence that you had drank alcohol and that you were legally "drunk" under Texas law at the time of the test.
- If you submit to the breath test and the machine indicates that your blood alcohol level is below .10 you may still be taken to jail if the officer reports that you did not have the normal use of your mind and body because of either drinking alcohol, using drugs or both. If you refuse to take the breath analysis test, your driver's license will be suspended for at least 90 days if you are over 21 years of age, and at least 120 days if you are under 21 years old, and you will probably be taken to jail.