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Do Not Talk

One of the first things that your criminal defense attorney should tell you regarding your case is “Do not talk to anyone about your case.”

Most people know that hearsay is not allowed as evidence in court. But with every rule in the law there are exceptions. One of those exceptions is a “Statement against Interest.” Texas Rules of Evidence 803 provides in part that a statement that: a reasonable person in the speaker's position would have made only if the person believed it to be true because, when made, it was so contrary to the speaker's proprietary or pecuniary interest or had so great a tendency to invalidate the speaker's claim against someone else or to expose the speaker to civil or criminal liability or to make the speaker an object of hatred, ridicule, or disgrace; and (B) is supported by corroborating circumstances that clearly indicate its trustworthiness, if it is offered in a criminal case as one that tends to expose the speaker to criminal liability.

Let me explain in English with a possible DWI.

You are driving home one night and you run your car into a tree. Amazingly, no one sees your or seems to be aroused by the accident. You are only houses down from your own residence. You get out of the car and quickly realize that you are not driving that car home tonight. You walk home knowing you will have to face the neighbors in the morning.

Morning comes, you call a tow truck, you call your insurance, and then you walk down to the neighbor’s house. You tell tow truck guy where the car is located. You tell the insurance you had an accident. Nothing so far is said that is not already obvious. You know your neighbor. She is a good lady. You have lived a couple of doors apart for years. She invites you in for a cup of coffee. You say, “That would be excellent.” You walk into the kitchen and sit down at the table.

She asks you what happened. You begin to recount an evening of drinking with friends. What you thought was going to be a couple of beers on the way home became dinner with wine. Then one of you buddies offers to buy a couple of rounds at the bar after dinner. You continue on, “I was so drunk. I am thankful it was just a tree.” You have just admitted to what is likely a DWI. Technically, your friend could be compelled to testify against you in court. She did not see you driving. She did not witness the accident. But the accident plus your STATEMENT AGAINST INTEREST could be enough to put you legal hot water.

The advice to not talk about your case is especially true if you are sitting in jail. I tell my clients who are sitting in jail, “Do not talk to anyone about your case. Not your cellmate, not the guard, not even you mamma. The phones are recorded, the guard works for the sheriff, and your cellmate will use anything he can to his advantage.”

When you are facing criminal charges, about the only people in whom you can confide are your spouse, your priest or pastor, and your attorney. Almost everyone else can be made to testify against you in court.

If you are accused of a crime, call me, Andrew Decker, at 817-441-1629.

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