Frequently Asked Questions About Criminal Defense
HELP FROM A TOP-RATED CRIMINAL LAWYER
The fear and anxiety associated with facing criminal charges is not uncommon. It is my goal to help ease any concerns you have and provide you with valuable information so that you feel comfortable moving forward. Below I have listed some relevant questions and answers that are commonly asked by people dealing with accusations. Allow me to provide you with additional help by calling my office or fill out my free case evaluation today. Do not allow your current situation to overwhelm you; know that reliable legal help is available.
Yes, you can fight your DWI charges! Since there are so many factors that go into a DWI case such as field sobriety test evidence, BAC evidence, police officer testimony and other elements, virtually any aspect of a DWI case can be challenged in court. From the legality of the traffic stop, to field sobriety test evidence, to the calibration of the Intoxilyzer 5000, to how chemical test evidence was collected, stored and preserved, the possibilities for challenging DWI evidence are numerous. Whenever you are arrested for DWI, you should always fight your charges just as you would any other form of criminal charges.
All crimes are divided up into two categories: misdemeanors and felonies. Generally speaking, the difference between the two types of crime is one of severity, with less-serious offenses being classified as misdemeanors and more-serious ones charged as felonies. Texas state law further provides for three classes of misdemeanors and five classes of felonies.
The sentence that you could receive if you are convicted depends on the severity of the charges against you. Here is an overview of the maximum penalties available for the different classes of crime:
- Capital felony – Death sentence or life in prison without possibility of parole
- First-degree felony – Life in prison and fines of up to $10,000
- Second-degree felony – Up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000
- Third-degree felony – Up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000
- State jail felony – Up to 2 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000
- Class A misdemeanor – Up to 1 year in jail and fines of up to $4,000
- Class B misdemeanor – Up to 180 days in jail and fines of up to $2,000
- Class C misdemeanor – Fines of up to $500
These are the maximum penalties available for sentencing of a crime. It is possible for your San Antonio criminal defense attorney to argue in favor of a lighter sentence or to seek to have the charge against you reduced to a lesser charge.
Many factors determine whether or not your case ends up going to a jury trial. If the prosecutor is determined to convict you, your attorney will have to find a way to invalidate the evidence or to demonstrate that your rights were violated in the course of the investigation, which makes it possible to file a motion to dismiss the charges.
If it is not possible to have the charges dropped, your case will probably go to trial. In many cases, however, the prosecutor is willing to negotiate a plea bargain in order to avoid the expense and effort involved in preparing for trial. When we meet for your free case evaluation, I take the time to review the situation and give you my best prediction as to how your case will be disposed.
Many people who are arrested for drinking and driving make the serious mistake of giving up any hope of beating the charges since they failed a field sobriety test or were caught with a blood alcohol concentration above the legal limit on a breath or blood test. The fact is that you can nearly always fight a DWI charge, and it is very often possible to win. For example, it might be possible to have the charges dismissed by demonstrating that your constitutional rights were violated by a traffic stop without probable cause.
The footage from the police car’s dashboard video camera might be useful in demonstrating that you did not actually fail the field sobriety tests. By subpoenaing the calibration and maintenance records for the breathalyzer machine, it might be possible to show that the machine was not in the proper condition to provide reliable test results. There are many ways to challenge DWI evidence, but the most important thing you can do is to take action now by retaining legal representation.
You should hire an attorney as soon as possible. Some people even go so far as to call a criminal defense lawyer from the roadside during a DWI investigation. As soon as you are contacted by law enforcement, you should exercise your legal rights by refusing to discuss the situation and insisting on your right to legal counsel.