Can I be charged with a crime after the fact if no arrest was made at the time? 2 Answers as of June 21, 2011

My brother was stopped with illegal immigrants in his vehicle but officers advised him that they weren't going to file charges on him. He was cited for "failure to maintain single lane" and they photographed him but never arrested him according to what they said. He was not fingerprinted but he is afraid they will later charge him for the illegal immigrants. They took his car and told him he would need a lawyer to get it back which is why he fears they will put a warrant out for his arrest.

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Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
Two issues are at play - the first is the potential criminal charges that still could be filed. If they are in the middle of a big investigation and an incident occurs which could interfere, some times federal agents will initially walk away from an arrest. (An example is when there is a large drug investigation involving a lot of people going on and one car gets popped with drugs. They might not arrest those folks because they are trying not to scare the others into stopping their illegal activities.) Or, it could be that the prosecutors who handle those types of cases were not available to advise them so they gathered the evidence, took photographs, and let him go until they are able to consult with a prosecutor. Or, it could be that they are not going to file charges. I do not think he is out of the water yet, though. As far as the truck is concerned, when a vehicle is used for an illegal activity, even when they do not prosecute the criminal activity, they can still seek forfeiture of the vehicle. He will be served with forfeiture documents. He will need a lawyer to advise him on filing an answer because if he attempts to get the vehicle back, he will be subjected to answering discovery questions and requests for admissions, etc., in which truthful answers under oath might incriminate him.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 6/21/2011
The Law Offices of Dustan Neyland
The Law Offices of Dustan Neyland | Dustan Neyland
Your brother needs to consult an attorney immediately. I find it quite odd that the police seized his car without arresting him. In order for the police to seize a car, it must be evidence of a crime or be used in the commission of a felony. There is no state crime in Texas for associating with an illegal alien or even giving one a ride.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 6/21/2011
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