Criminal Defense Trial Lawyer
Dallas / North Texas
When you have been arrested for a criminal offense such as Driving
While Intoxicated (DWI) you need an attorney with extensive expertise.
more on Texas DWI...
Misdemeanors are various crimes that do not rise to the level of a felony. Even though misdemeanors carry less jail time than felonies, they
can still be serious charges.
more on misdemeanors...
Attorney At Law
5005 Greenville Avenue, Suite 200
Dallas, TX 75206
Dallas Texas Criminal Defense Trial Attorney
|"Board Certified Criminal Lawyer" and "Former Assistant District Attorney"
If you have been convicted, indicted for, or charged with a criminal
offense, you need the misdemeanor and felony defense lawyers at The Law
Office of Ward Maedgen. We have assisted many criminal defendants
throughout the Texas state and federal court system and provide legal
representation throughout the state.
We stand ready to assist you by investigating and vigorously challenging your
pending charges. We understand the serious nature of your situation and want to
help you deal with the stressful and complex issues.
Facts and Questions: General information
on what to do when you have been charged or arrested for a crime and how to
proceed in getting help. Click here for information
Facts and Questions
regarding a Dallas criminal defense attorney for a DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) or a DUI
(Driving Under The Influence) and what is involved in the criminal court process: Click here for information
Facts and Questions regarding hiring a Dallas criminal defense attorney and what is involved in drug
possession charges / drug related matters and the criminal court process: Click here for information
WHAT ARE MY RIGHTS?
The following information is intended as a brief summation of your
Constitutional rights and is meant to offer helpful hints at how to effectively
assert and protect those rights within the context of a police encounter. Of
course, this information is no substitute for consultation with an experienced
attorney. The Fourth Amendment to the Bill of Rights of the United States
Constitution states: The right of the people to be secure in their
persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and
seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable
cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place
to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
The Fifth Amendment reads, in part, "No person shall be... compelled in any
criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty,
or property, without due process of law...." These amendments provide the
foundation for the rights that protect all U.S. Citizens from intrusive law
enforcement practices. If an officer violates your rights then any evidence
discovered as a result of that violation must be suppressed from the evidence at
trial. This is accomplished by filing a motion to suppress with the trial judge.
Even if an officer obtained a warrant prior to searching, if the warrant is
defective or not supported by probable cause, then the evidence must be
If your attorney is successful showing he Court that the evidence was obtained
as a result of an illegal detention, interrogation or search then the evidence
may be suppressed. As a result, the government may be left with very little
evidence and have to dismiss the charges.
1. Don't Leave Contraband in Plain View
Although law enforcement officers must obtain a warrant before they can conduct
a privacy-invading search, any illicit material that can be plainly seen by any
person from a non-intrusive vantage point is subject to confiscation. An arrest
and a valid warrant to search the rest of the area is likely to ensue.
2. Never Consent
Many individuals arrested on drug charges could have avoided that arrest by
exercising their Fourth Amendment rights. If a law enforcement officer asks for
your permission to search, it is usually because: (1) there is not enough
evidence to obtain a search warrant; or (2) the officer does not feel like going
through the hassle of obtaining a warrant. Law enforcement officers are trained
to intimidate people into consenting to searches. If you do consent, you waive
your constitutional protection and the officers may search and seize items
authorization. If officers find contraband, they will arrest you.
If you do not consent to a search, the officer must either release you or detain
you and attempt to get a warrant. The fact that you refuse to consent does not
give the officer grounds to obtain a warrant or further detain you. An officer
can obtain a search warrant only from a judge or magistrate and only upon a
showing of "probable cause." Probable cause requires an officer to articulate
information that would cause a reasonable person to believe that a crime has
been or is being committed and that evidence of that involvement can be found
within the object of the search.
There are exceptions to the search warrant requirement permitting an officer to
search an area without a warrant or consent under certain circumstances. The
important thing for you to remember is never to consent to a search or talk with
an officer if you want to preserve your rights. If an officer asks to
search you or an area belonging to you or over which you are authorized to
control, you should respond:
"I do not consent to a search of my [person, baggage, purse, luggage, vehicle,
house, blood, etc.] I do not consent to this contact and do not want to answer
any questions. If I am not under arrest, I would like to go now (or be left
3. Don't Answer Questions Without Your Attorney Present
Whether arrested or not, you should always exercise the right to remain silent.
Anything you say to law enforcement officers, reporters, cellmates, or even your
friends can be used as evidence against you. You have the right to have an
attorney present during questioning. Your right to remain silent should always
4. Determining if You Can Leave
You may terminate an encounter with officers unless you are being detained under
police custody or have been arrested. If you cannot tell whether you may leave,
you can ask officers, "Am I under arrest or otherwise detained?" If the answer
is, "No," you may leave. An officer can temporarily detain you without arresting
you if he has "reasonable suspicion" that you are involved in criminal activity.
An officer must be able at a later time to articulate to a judge ?objective
facts? that would have caused a reasonable person to suspect that you were
involved in criminal activity at the point that you were detained. Also, the
officer may perform a "pat down" or "frisk" on you during the detention if he
has reasonable suspicion that you are armed. However, an officer may only reach
into your pockets if he pats something that feels like a weapon. When an officer
attempts to contact or question you, you should politely say: "I do not consent
to this contact and I do not want to answer any questions. If I am not under
arrest I would like to go now (or be left alone)." If arrested, you should again
refuse a search of any kind and refuse to answer any questions. At this point
you should insist on speaking to an attorney as soon as possible.
5. Do Not Be Hostile; Do Not Physically Resist
There are times when individuals politely assert their rights and refuse to
consent to a search but the officers still proceed to detain, search, or arrest
them. In such cases, it is important not to physically resist. Rather, you
should reassert your rights as outlined above in section 2.
6. Informing on Others
The police and prosecutors often try to pressure individuals into providing
information that would lead to the arrest and conviction of others. Threats and
promises by police and prosecutors should be viewed with caution and skepticism.
Decisions should only be made after consulting with an experienced criminal
defense attorney and examining one's own conscience.
Dallas / North Texas Criminal Defense Attorney
"Board Certified - Criminal Law Texas Board of Legal Specialization"
Ward Maedgen - Attorney At Law
|Ward Maedgen practices criminal defense law in the following cities and counties: Dallas,
Arlington, Cedar Hill, McKinney, Highland Park, University Park, Addison, Plano, Richardson, Mesquite, Garland, Irving, D/FW Airport,
Duncanville, Frisco, Carrolton, Allen, Lewisville, Flower Mound, Coppell, Farmers Branch, Forney, Hutchins, Wilmer, Rowlett, Grand
Prairie. Counties: North Texas, Dallas County, Collin County, Denton County, Rockwall County, Kaufman County