Arrested Out of State

Happy Friday. Everybody hope you had a great week and are gearing up for another gorgeous weekend here in North Texas or wherever you may be. So this week I want to talk to you about something that comes up from time to time and that is what you should do if you are traveling or if a loved one is traveling and you get arrested in a different state. This does happen from time to time with some of my clients, either they are from out of state and visiting Texas, and they get in trouble here and get arrested. Or they’re from this area, they’re traveling out of state and they get in trouble in a different jurisdiction.

So really in options like that, you have to kind of really main options. The first is you can hire an attorney that is local to the area that you were arrested in. The second option is you can hire an attorney that is close to where you live, that can then travel to the jurisdiction where you were arrested in. Generally speaking, my advice is going to be to hire an attorney that is from the area where your case is pending. Okay. There’s a bunch of different reasons for that. Most of the folks out there who are lawyers are going to be familiar with a lot of these reasons. But the biggest one is you generally want a lawyer who is familiar with the jurisdiction where the case is pending, especially on these state cases, because every county has its own quirks, has its own nuances, the judges have their own preferences on how they like things done. The prosecutors have their own preferences on what matters to them, what doesn’t matter to them. And so having a local attorney can really help.

Now the flip side to that is it can sometimes be rather difficult, let’s say, if you live in the Dallas area, but you have a case going on in Louisiana or Oklahoma or New Mexico or Arizona, wherever, that when you need to communicate with the attorney, it might be a little bit difficult because most of that communication is going to have to be done virtually either via phone or a video call or something like that. Which can sometimes degradate the level of communication that you have with your attorney.

So what I have seen some people do is they really do the best of both worlds. They hire a local attorney and they hire an attorney in the jurisdiction where the case is pending. This really only makes sense for the more serious type felonies, because that way they, like I said, they’ve got the best of both worlds. They have a local attorney that they can come and meet with, they can go over things face to face, they can go over evidence and discovery face-to-face and they also have that expertise of having there in the local jurisdiction that knows what they’re doing. So it’s really kind of up to the client.

But really at that initial phase, if you’re traveling somewhere or if somebody you know, is traveling somewhere and they do get in trouble, I would recommend that you do kind of both. You call a local attorney and you call an attorney from back where you’re from, because that way you can kind of get the advice of both, both of them can kind of tell you here’s what the first steps are, the next steps are, here’s what I can do. And you never know, you might get that local attorney that works, has offices by where you live, that is familiar with the jurisdiction you’re from. For example, our office, even though we’re in the Frisco DFW area, we’ve handled state cases literally all over the state of Texas. So now, no matter what county you’re in there is a chance that we’ve handled a case there, we know a prosecutor there, we know a lawyer that’s local there. So give that local lawyer a call at the same time that you’re giving the lawyer that’s from wherever you got in trouble. Call them both, see what both of them have to say.

Now on the federal side, the advice is totally different. If you’re indicted federally in a different state, be it New York, Chicago, Illinois, California, whatever. I definitely recommend hiring a lawyer close to where you live because federally it’s much easier for now that local lawyer to get admitted, what’s called pro hoc vice and appear in those foreign jurisdictions. Because of the federal level is a lot more uniform where it’s a lot easier for us, even though we’re Texas lawyers to step into a federal case in New York or DC or Illinois and we’re perfectly at home and we know exactly what we’re doing. In fact, we’ve done that many, many times. We’ve worked federal cases in many different states.

So that’s kind of my short and quick advice. If you get in trouble in a different jurisdiction is called two lawyers, call a local lawyer, call a lawyer from home, get their advice, talk to both of them, get both of them on board if you can, if it’s a serious enough case. And hopefully that way you’ve got all your bases covered.

As always, if you have any questions about this or any of the other videos that I’ve done or I’ve posted, or if you have something that you’d like to see me cover in a future video, either drop a comment below, send me an email and I’m happy to do that. I look forward to talking to each and every one of you sometime soon, have a great weekend, a great week next week. And I’ll see you next Friday.

Author Bio

James P. Whalen

James P. Whalen is the managing attorney and founder of Whalen Law Office, a Texas criminal defense firm offering personalized legal representation for various federal criminal charges. With a commitment to providing comfort and guidance during challenging times, Mr. Whalen serves as both an attorney and counselor to his clients, helping them navigate their cases while striving to restore normalcy to their lives.

In an inherently unbalanced criminal justice system, Mr. Whalen takes on cases with unwavering dedication. With decades of legal experience, he offers representation across various criminal charges, including white-collar crimes, violent crimes, drug charges, and more. Mr. Whalen’s numerous accolades, including Super Lawyer recognition and board certification in Criminal Appellate Law and Criminal Law, reflect his unwavering commitment to ethical and high-quality legal representation.

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