A caveat to readers: The information provided in this section should not be used in place of an in-person consultation with a knowledgeable attorney. These answers should not be interpreted as legal advice.
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST TO HIRE A CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER IN THE HOUSTON AREA?
Every case has its own unique idiosyncrasies. Some cases will require a great deal of work to be performed in terms of research, generation of legal documents, and time spent in court. Other cases will only require the attention of a single legal professional and be resolved more quickly.
It is often difficult to determine how long it will take to complete casework. This is why we go over the costs of each potential client’s defense during the initial consultation. Sit down with our staff and we will explain our fee structures and anticipated costs in detail. You will have a full understanding of the potential cost of your case after meeting with our team.
IS THERE A SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FELONIES AND MISDEMEANORS?
Misdemeanors often lead to county jail time. Felonies are much more serious. If found guilty, you might end up spending time in prison or state jail. Misdemeanors and Felonies also pose the possibility of fines. Prospective clients are invited to check out the felony defense portion of our website as well as the misdemeanor defense section to gain a better understanding of the penalties of these offenses.
DOES THE STATE OF TEXAS DISTINGUISH BETWEEN DEFERRED ADJUDICATION AND PROBATION?
Yes. There is a difference between probation and deferred adjudication. Probation allows for a suspension of the defendant’s sentence. The defendant will be supervised within his community according to the court’s terms and conditions. Probation will ultimately result in a conviction that will be placed on the defendant’s record.
Deferred adjudication defers the finding of guilt. The defendant is subjected to community supervision under deferred adjudication. If it is completed, the court will not enter a finding of guilt. It is important to note that those who violate the term of the sentence could be subjected to further punishment including incarceration.
WHAT IS A GRAND JURY?
This is a panel of individuals from the local community who are entrusted to determine if probable cause exists. If the grand jury determines that probable cause exists, the defendant’s felony charge will remain active.
IF AN ILLEGAL ARREST OCCURS, WHAT WILL HAPPEN?
Illegal arrests do not always result in the dismissal of the charges or a reversal of the conviction. However, evidence obtained through such an illegal arrest will likely be excluded from the evidence that is taken into account by the judge or jury.
THE POLICE OFFICER FAILED TO READ ME MY MIRANDA RIGHTS. WILL THIS CAUSE MY CASE TO BE DISMISSED?
Miranda rights encompass your right to remain silent during your arrest, your right to an attorney, the right to an appointed attorney if you can’t afford your own and the right to terminate the interview at any point. Miranda rights also include the right to know that anything you say has the potential to be used against you in court.
If the court determines that your Miranda rights were not read during your arrest, any statements you made can be suppressed. If such statements are suppressed, the state will be disallowed from using that information as evidence during the trial. However, the court’s determination that a Miranda violation occurred will not automatically cause your case to be dismissed.
WHEN IS IT LEGAL FOR A POLICE OFFICER TO SEARCH MY CAR OR MYSELF?
Police officers are required to obtain a search warrant in order to search your vehicle or your body/clothing. Yet there are a few exceptions to the rule. These exceptions include consensual searches, the “plain view” exception, searches that are incident to lawful arrest, inventory searches, the automobile exception pat downs and border searches. Reach out to Joshua Hill for more information about these nuanced exceptions and whether they are applicable to your case.
MY OFFENSE IS MINOR. DO I STILL NEED AN ATTORNEY?
If there is the potential for the offense to remain on your record, it is in no way minor. Too many defendants make the critical mistake of attempting to represent themselves in a “pro se” manner. Such attempts almost always generate poor results.
The bottom line is that engaging a savvy defense attorney will drastically reduce the odds of a conviction. Do not lose sight of the fact that a misdemeanor conviction can lead to a future felony charge if you are eventually found guilty of the same offense. Team up with Joshua Hill today and rest easy knowing that all the legal documents, deadlines, evidence and other important details of your case will be handled in a professional and prompt manner.