Frequently Asked Questions
Answers From a Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer
The law is confusing, complicated, and difficult to navigate. With the
help of our team of skilled and experienced attorneys, however, you can
find the answers that you need. Our job is to ensure that you are confident,
protected, and prepared to face criminal charges and fight for your freedom.
At The Martinez Law Firm, we are ready to be your advocate.
If you have questions that are not on this list, pleace
contact our team today!
What if I am innocent of any crime? Do I still need a lawyer?
If you are facing charges for crimes that you did not commit, you should
contact an attorney immediately. Almost nothing is more unjust than spending
time in prison for a crime of which you were not guilty. With the help
of a Attorney Martinez at our law firm, you can make sure that you are
protecting yourself with the best possible legal defense in the face of
a false accusation.
What is the difference between burglary and robbery?
Burglary refers to unlawfully entering a house or building with the intent to commit
assault or theft.
Robbery refers to unlawfully taking property from another person by force. Both
crimes can result in felony charges and even life imprisonment, depending
upon your situation. If you have been charged with either of these
theft crimes, it is very important that you contact our lead attorney at the Martinez
Law Firm in order to protect your constitutional rights.
What is the penalty for a first degree felony?
If you have been convicted of a crime that is classified as a first degree
felony under Texas Penal Law, you could face life in prison. This type
of classification allows the court to sentence you to from anywhere from
5 to 99 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.
What is the sentence for a capital felony?
If you are convicted of a capital felony in Texas, you will either receive
life imprisonment without possibility of parole or the death penalty.
Can I go to jail for drug possession?
Whether or not you go to jail on a drug possession charge will depend
on the type of drug found in your possession as well as the quantity.
Illegal drugs are categorized under Penalty Groups in Texas according
to their potential for addiction and abuse which dictate the penalties
they incur. The penalties you face may also be influenced by criminal
records, whether or not a minor was involved, if a weapon was used, whether
or not serious injury or death was caused, whether or not intent to sell
or distribute was found.
What are the penalties for marijuana possession?
For small amounts of marijuana, you will likely be facing a criminal charge
which can involve six months up to two years in a Texas jail along with
fines of $2,000 up to $10,000. If you are convicted for possession of
up to a pound of marijuana with no previous felony convictions, you will
generally receive alternative sentencing of probation and a drug treatment
program. The duration of this program as well as whether to require the
payment of fines will be left up to the judge on your case.
Possession of amounts greater than a pound will result in mandatory jail
or prison sentences. In the case of one to five pounds of marijuana found in your possession,
a minimum six-month sentence will be imposed. You will also have a felony
conviction on your record. Possession of amounts greater than five pounds
will incur incrementally larger sentences. Five to fifty pounds of marijuana
found in your possession is punishable by two to 10 years in prison with
fines of up to $10,000. Amounts greater than this will result in increased
prison times and fines.
Common Questions About DUI Charges
Do I need an attorney if this is my first DWI charge?
It is not legally necessary to have representation if you have been charged with
DWI in Texas. You could be facing probation, license suspension, community
service and even jail time if you are convicted. In light of these punishments,
you might consider that protecting yourself legally by consulting with
a professional attorney would be in your best interests.
What is blood alcohol concentration (BAC)?
Blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, is the level of alcohol concentration
present in your blood as represented by a breath, blood or urine test.
These tests can determine whether you will be charged with DWI in Texas.
What is the legal BAC in Texas?
The legal BAC (blood alcohol content) limit in the state of Texas is 0.08%
for individuals over the age of 21. If you are pulled over and found to
be intoxicated then you may be arrested. If, after administration of a
chemical test, your BAC is found to be at or above this legal limit, then
you will be charged with DWI.
What happens if I refuse a chemical test?
While it is your legal right to refuse a field sobriety test without fear
of penalties, this is not the case with chemical tests such as breath
or blood tests. If you are driving on the roads in Texas, then you essentially
consent to any chemical testing; refusal of these tests MAY result in
at least six months license suspension.
Is the breath test always accurate?
No. In fact, there have been many cases that were successfully defended
from DWI charges because the Intoxilyzer test was proved to have been
administered inaccurately. Depending upon the circumstances of your case,
this could be a defense. However, it is important to speak with an attorney
no matter what you blew on the breath test machine. You can still be charged
with DWI even if the test was administered inaccurately or if you blew
less than 0.08 percent.
Can I go to jail for my DWI?
The answer is yes. The State of Texas is serious about DWI. Even as a
first-time offender, you could face 72 hours to 180 days in jail if convicted of DWI, if you
elect to not do probation. First time offenders typically do not do any
jail time. For a
second offense, the minimum jail time is 30 days to 1 year, if you do not do probation.
Even if probation is granted for a second DWI, there is a minimum 3 day
jail time requirement. For a
third offense, it is 2-10 years of prison time if probation is not granted. If one does
get probation for their third DWI offense, there is a mandatory 10 day
jail condition to their probation.
What is the penalty for a first DWI conviction?
If you are over the age of 21 and you are convicted of the crime of DWI
for the first time, you are facing up to 180 days in jail, up to $2,000
in fines, a driver's license suspension and up to 72 hours in jail.
A DWI with a BAC over .15 enhances the penalties to up to one year in
jail, up to a $4,000 fine.
What if I am under 21?
If you are under the age of 21, and you are charged with impaired driving,
then you will face DUI charges. If you are convicted, then you could face
up to 60 days license suspension and up to $500 in fines.
Will my Driver's License be Suspended After My DWI Arrest?
Most police officers mistakenly tell the person that they are arresting
for DWI that there drivers license will be suspended for a 180 day period
if they refuse to provide a breath sample and only 90 days if they provide
one. That statement is incorrect. First, you license MAY be suspended
for 180 days not that it will be suspended. Second, the 90 day suspension
is only if you provide a breath sample above the legal limit of .08. Thirdly,
police officers routinely fail to mention that you are entitled to hear
to save your license from being suspended. This hearing is not your DWI
trial. When you hire the Martinez Law Firm the hearing to attempt to save
your license is included.
What is an ALR hearing?
ALR stands for Administrative License Revocation. An ALR hearing will
determine whether your license is suspended after you have been arrested
/ charged with DWI. The arresting officer will issue you a Notice of Suspension
and he or she will take your driver's license. You must then schedule
a hearing within 15 days of receiving the Notice of Suspension otherwise
your license will be automatically suspended for a period of time. With
the help of an experienced Houston DWI lawyer, you could have your license returned.
What surcharges can I expect if I have been convicted of DWI?
The state of Texas applies expensive yearly surcharges on the licenses
of individuals who have been convicted of DWI. Depending upon your circumstances,
you could face anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 in surcharges for just the
DWI conviction(s). You will have to pay these surcharges for three years
after the date of conviction.
Will I be able to meet with my attorney at the Martinez Law Firm?
Absolutely. Because we are an intimate law firm, you will always be able
to meet directly with the lawyer who will be defending you. We believe
in fully researching and investigating each client’s case in order
to build the best possible defense.
Give us a call for a