Criminal Defense Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get out of jail?
Once someone has been arrested and charged with a criminal offense they are arrested and detained in jail. In order to get out, the accused will have to post bail by either paying full amount in cash or getting a bondsman to bail them out.
- Cash bond- can be paid personally by detained person or they can have someone pay the bond to the jail on your behalf.
Bail bondsman- a person or agency that provides a bond for someone who is in jail. The agreement is between the county and the bonding company who agree that the defendant will appear at all future court dates. There is also an agreement with the Bond Company and defendant that they will check in regularly and attend all court dates. Most people chose this option because you are normally only required to pay 10-20% of the bail amount.
- Example bond set at 1,000. The defendant will be required to pay $100-$200.
Is there a warrant out for my arrest?
You're driving down the highway and get pulled over to find out that there is a warrant for your arrest. You had no idea that you had one but now you're concerned about whether you will be facing a criminal charge.
- The first thing to do is contact a local bondsman to run a check on your name to view any outstanding warrants. A lot of bondsmen provide this service for free.
Common reasons for warrants may include:
- Outstanding traffic tickets.
- Missed court dates.
The purpose of a warrant is to bring a person to court before a judge. The judge can order fines, suspend your license and other penalties. So warrants should not be brushed off and should be dealt with immediately.
Speaking with an experienced attorney at The Law Office of Kevin Bennett can help you sort things out so that you aren't inconvenienced by a warrant. If not taken care of properly the consequences of having a warrant can be very serious.
Do I have any rights when police question me?
You have to comply with the investigation meaning that you shouldn't resist arrest. If they ask for your identification, give it to them. Do not admit guilt to any crime that law enforcement accuses you of. Just mention that you do not want to speak with anyone until you have an attorney present. A goal of many Police officers is to charge someone with a crime and get them arrested. They have ways of making even innocent people seem guilty. Anything you say during an investigation can be used against you in court.
I didn't get read my Miranda Rights. Was my arrest Illegal?
Police do not have to read you Miranda rights if they have not initiated questioning with you. Under the 5th amendment, it is your right to not incriminate yourselves. If they start an interrogation, they have to read you your rights.
These rights are:
- The right to remain silent.
- The right to an attorney during questioning (If you cannot afford one, one will be appointed to you)
- Anything you say can be used against you in the court of law.
The Miranda rule can be complicated and it is best to speak with a lawyer who is knowledgeable about your rights.
- These rights are:
What is the purpose of hiring an attorney if I know I will be found guilty?
The purpose of hiring an attorney at The Law Office of Kevin Bennett is to get the best possible outcome for your case. Handling things yourself will not yield the best possible outcome because you are not an experienced lawyer and you likely do not know how the court systems operate.
When you retain an attorney at The Law Office of Kevin Bennett you can rest assured that they will be working to get you a favorable outcome. An attorney can get you on probation or pretrial diversion in order to keep you out of jail. If this is your first offense it may be eligible for expungement which means that no record of this offense will be on your record.
A lawyer at The Law Office of Kevin Bennett will also review your case to make sure that law enforcement followed proper procedures to arrest you. A criminal conviction can cause you to lose jobs, lose your apartment, lose financial aid if you are in school and many other things. It should be taken seriously and you should hire an attorney as soon as possible so that they can start working on your case immediately.
What is the difference between probation and deferred adjudication?
- Probation is the community supervision of an offender that is served outside of the traditional jail system. The terms of probation vary depending on the individual, the state of the offense, and the crime. An offender placed on probation has a set of conditions that they must abide by during this period. Examples of some conditions would be having to submit to drug test once a month, completing a certain amount of community service hours, refraining from firearms, abide by a curfew, and having to take drug/alcohol addiction classes. Probation is available for both felony and misdemeanor probation in all 50 states in the United States and typically granted for first-time offenders or crimes that aren't very serious. Once you complete probation your records cannot be sealed or expunged like in deferred adjudication.
Deferred adjudication is a sentence that is completely diverted out of the court system. This is usually offered to first-time offenders. If the person completes the term successfully they are able to get the conviction off of their record and they will have no finding of guilt. If a defendant wants to go to trial they will not be allowed to get deferred adjudication. The courts offer this because with rising cost of prison's and high rates of incarceration it is more efficient to handle less serious offenders outside of incarceration.
- Ex: Someone who has no criminal record gets arrested for shoplifting out of Walmart; they might get on deferred adjudication. If they do not follow through with all terms set forth for them they will have to appear before a judge and their sentence will probably be revoked and a new punishment will have to be completed.
What is Pre-Trial Diversion?
Pre-Trial diversion is supervision that is offered to first-time offenders in Texas during prosecution of their crimes. It allows offenders to pay for what they have done without having a conviction on their record.
The impact of being arrested for the first time can be very scary and each the terms of each program is personalized to each case. Since the case is diverted out of the court system, offenders do not have any court fines.
Call The Law Office of Kevin Bennett so that we can go over your options and see if you are eligible for Pre-Trial Diversion. If you complete this program and get an expunction you can legally deny the occurrence of the arrest or criminal case.
Can the police search my car?
Yes, the police can legally search your car if they believe your vehicle has evidence that a crime has been committed or will be committed. They also have the right to search if something is in plain view sight which gives them probable cause to believe evidence is in the vehicle. An example of this would be an open alcohol bottle in the passenger seat of your car or a gun in your car that is in plain view. If you have been arrested or your car has been impounded they can search your car. If you give consent they can also search. You have the right to say no but if they meet any of the standards mentioned above they will probably still search anyways. The police might be able to get a warrant to search if you refuse.
An example of this would be an open alcohol bottle in the passenger seat of your car or a gun in your car that is in plain view. If you have been arrested or your car has been impounded they can search your car under the "incident to arrest" exception to the warrant requirement. If you give consent they can also search. You have the right to say no but if they meet any of the standards mentioned above they will probably still search anyways. The police might be able to get a warrant to search if you refuse.
If you give free and voluntary consent, then the police can conduct a search without a warrant. You have the right to say no but if they meet any of the standards mentioned above they will probably still search anyways. The police might be able to get a warrant to search if you refuse.
If no exception to the warrant requirement applies, then the police must get a warrant or the search is illegal. If the search is illegal, then your attorney can file and litigate a motion to suppress any evidence seized so that it cannot be used against you at trial. The police might be able to get a warrant to search if you refuse.
DWI Frequently Asked Questions
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Expunctions and Record Sealing Frequently Asked Questions
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