Attorney Frequently Asked Questions

List of Drunk Driving Defense FAQ

What are the punishments if one is convicted?

In Texas, there are eight classifications of crimes, with the most lenient penalty being a fine and the greatest penalty is execution. The least serious crimes are classified as Class C misdemeanors, which includes traffic violations and public intoxication. Punishments are based not only on the type of crime but on the details of your case. Contact an experienced Houston criminal lawyer to learn the punishments that you may face for your crime.

Why is it important to remain silent?

If the police ask you questions it is not to determine whether you are guilty. It is to gain something they can use as evidence against you. If you have been put under arrest, the police have already been convinced of your guilt and are looking to gain further indications of your guilt. There is not much to be gained by trying to explain yourself to someone who does not want to find that you are innocent. Save your talking for when you meet with a trustworthy lawyer.

What is a bond, and how is it set?

In America the law is that an individual is considered innocent, until proven guilty. This is why people are usually either released until they are convicted or may be released on a bond. The courts require bonds as a deposit to be paid to ensure that the defendant will return to face the charges at trial. The amount of money a bond is specified at depends on: the seriousness of the charge, one’s prior criminal record, the likelihood that the accused is a threat to the public, and the ability of the accused to pay the bond. In some extremely grave cases, the accused may not be allowed to be released on bond. An attorney may be able to influence the amount a bond is set at for a client.

If I do not have any witnesses who will testify on my behalf, can I still win at trial?

You may still win at trial. In fact, it is not uncommon for defendants to go to trial without having anyone to testify for them. In these cases the defendant’s attorney focuses on cross-examining the prosecution witnesses. The object is to discredit the prosecution witness’ testimony. There are many reasons why a jury should throw out the testimony of a prosecution witness-bias against the defendant, mistaken observations and unreliable evidence from a laboratory. These arguments are identifying holes in the prosecutor’s case and create reasonable doubt. To be convicted, the prosecution must provide evidence beyond all reasonable doubt. A skilled Houston criminal attorney can work to provide reasonable doubt in the jurors’ minds whether the defendant has witnesses or not.

Back To Top

What is self-defense -- and how can a defendant prove they acted in self-defense?

Self-defense is defensive action taken to protect oneself from the violent threats or actions of another individual. Often those charged with a violent crime claim it was in self-defense. The person may admit that they did in fact commit a crime, but use the other person’s actions to justify themselves. In these cases the issues are: who was the aggressor? Was the defendant’s belief in the necessity of self-defense reasonable? If so, was the force used by the defendant also reasonable? You will want to consult a criminal attorney to gain a better understanding of self-defense claims.

What is a “Delayed Sentence”?

If a defendant is eligible for a “delayed sentence” it means that upon successfully completing probation, the criminal conviction will not be placed on the defendant’s record. This is usually only an option for younger, first-time offenders charged with a less serious crime. Usually first time offenders charged with possession of a controlled substance are eligible for a delayed sentence. An attorney can advise as to whether this may be an option for you.

What happens if I am convicted of a Probation Violation?

If you are convicted of a probation violation, the court may extend the length of the probation period, or establish new terms. It is common for the court to sentence the offender to a period of jail time, followed by more probation. Contact a lawyer for more details on what is likely in your case.

What is the difference between probation and parole?

While parole is a means of completing a criminal sentence of incarceration, probation is in and of itself, a criminal sentence. In most cases, first time offenders are considered for probation if their offense was non-violent. Parole is given to convicted criminals who have served at least the minimum amount of time of their prison sentence and have become eligible to complete their sentence through a probationary period. If the individual completes the parole period while fully abiding by the terms and conditions, the criminal sentence is discharged. Either probation or parole may be revoked if the individual commits another crime or disobeys the terms. Speak with a Houston criminal attorney if you have violated either your probation or parole.

Can only businesspersons be charged with white collar crimes?

In the past, white collar crime was defined by the professional status of the offender. Now however, the definition of white collar crime depends on the actions committed, rather than the vocation or status of the offender. It is defined as the use of illegal acts involving deception to acquire property or services or to gain a business or professional advantage. One case where the defendant doesn’t fit the traditional white collar profile is a drug dealer who sends drugs through the mail. An attorney can identify whether your crime will be classified as a white collar crime.

Why would a defendant choose not to testify?

A criminal defendant is not compelled by law to testify and jurors are told not to assume anything negative if the accused chooses not to testify. However, it is difficult to completely prevent jurors from making judgments. A defendant may prefer to remain silent for many reasons, many of which have to do with preventing bias in the jury. If the defendant has a criminal conviction on their record, the prosecutor may be able to bring out this fact only if the defendant testifies. This previous conviction may bias some jurors against the defendant. Other information that tarnishes the defendant’s reputation may also come out in questioning as well. The defendant may also have a poor public speaking demeanor that might lead to bias. Reasons such as these might cause a criminal defense attorney to advise their client against testifying.

Back To Top