Frequently Asked Questions

My husband / wife / son / daughter / friend has been arrested. What should I do?

Three things: call a criminal defense lawyer in your county and then call a bail bondsman to see about getting your friend or family member released.

Tell your friend or family member not to answer any questions about the incident and to ask for a lawyer, which should stop any police questioning.

What is bail?

Instead of waiting out the resolution of your case in jail, bail allows to be released if you put up a financial deposit as a promise to appear in court.

Typically, people accused of a crime hire a bail bondsman. The bondsman will pay the county the entire bail amount in exchange for you paying the bondsman 10% of the bond.

For example, a typical aggravated assault bond in Harris County is $30,000. You can pay that amount to the county to get released and it will be refunded to you after your case is over.

Or you can pay a bail bondsman a non-refundable fee of $3000 (10% of the bail amount) in exhance for them posting the entire amount.

Do I have to appear in court?

Yes, you must appear at your court settings. It is a condition of your bond that you appear in court and on time. If you fail to appear in court, your bond can be revoked.

What are bond conditions?

As a condition of you being released while your case is resolved, the judge can impose restrictions on your life like drug-testing, no contact with the alleged victim in the case, or in the case of DWI charges, requiring you to install an ignition interlock device in your car.

What happens after I am arrested and processed?

The court process will begin. You will appear in court several times so that your lawyer can evaluate the evidence, discuss the case with the prosecutor, and investigate the charge.

Different courts move at different speeds but at some point, the case will be resolved with a dismissal by the prosecutor, a plea agreement, or a trial.

Will I have to plead guilty or not-guilty at the first court appearance?

No. In fact, in Texas, the judge will typically instruct you not to say anything except whether you understand your rights and whether you are hiring a lawyer or need a court-appointed attorney.

What is deferred adjudication?

Deferred adjudication is a special type of probation. Basically, you are placed on deferred adjudication for a certain amount of time. If you complete the time period without getting in trouble, the charges are dismissed and you will not have a conviction on your record. However, if you commit another crime or violate the conditions of the deferred adjudication, you are found guilty and the judge can assess any punishment in the statutory range of the crime.

Deferred adjudication is not allowed for DWI and other intoxication offenses.

Can I meet with you to discuss my case?

Yes, if you are seeking representation, please call my office and we will set up an appointment to discuss your case. We will talk about possible defenses, strategy, how the process works in your county, and fees.

Do you have payment plans?

Yes. I typically require half the fee to be paid up front and the balance can be paid over time.

Do you accept credit cards?


Am I eligible for DWI Expunction?

In Texas, a person who completes straight probation is not eligible for expunction or non-disclosure. Furthermore, other final criminal convictions cannot be erased from a criminal record.

For example, a DWI conviction can never be expunged or sealed. If the court gave you as your punishment time served in jail or a prison sentence, you have a final conviction that cannot be sealed or expunged.

Who is a Juvenile?

In common usage, a juvenile may mean 16 years old and under; 18 years old and under; or 21 years old and under. However, under Texas law, a juvenile is ten to sixteen years old. An adult is seventeen and older. Sealing of records governs clearing offenses that occurred as a juvenile. Expunction and non-disclosure are the two main mechanisms to clear an offense that occurred as an adult.

What Immediate Action Should I Take for a DWI?

In short, post bond, interview lawyers, go to court, stay out of trouble, assess the evidence, and stay determined and be patient.

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What should I expect in the Pre-Trial process?

These articles will help you understand the Texas criminal law process before trial.

Learn more about Bail in Houston

After someone has been arrested for committing a crime, the police must present the person to a judicial officer within 48 hours of the arrest. This appearance is known as presentation. During presentation, the judicial officer will inform the person of the charges against him and of his Miranda rights. Also, the judicial officer will make the initial bail determination.

Learn more about Encounters with Police
Learn more about The Information and the Indictment
Learn more about Dockets and Resets
Read our Warnings About Plea Agreements

What should I expect in the Trial process?

Motion to Suppress
Before trial, the defense lawyer may file a motion to suppress. A motion to suppress is a way to keep out evidence that was obtained by the police in violation of a defendant’s legal rights. For example, a defense attorney may file a motion to suppress if the police seized evidence from the accused without a proper warrant or forced a confession from a defendant. In a DWI prosecution, a defense attorney may file a motion to suppress if the police did not have reasonable suspicion to pull the defendant’s vehicle over for violating a traffic ordinance.

The Actual Trial
At the start of the trial, the prosecutor will read the charging instrument to the jury. The prosecution must then make an opening statement. The defense lawyer may make an opening statement or postpone it until later. An opening statement must not contain arguments; rather, the opening statement must only describe the facts that the prosecutor and defense lawyer believe the evidence to be presented will show.

After opening statements, the state will present evidence through its witnesses. The defense will have an opportunity to cross-examine the state’s witnesses. After the state finishes its case, the defense may elect to present evidence. After the defense finishes its case, the state can call rebuttal witnesses. The defense can then follow with other rebuttal witnesses.

Once all the testimony is finished, the judge will prepare a jury charge. The charge contains law and instructions to help the jury decide the verdict. The charge is prepared outside the presence of the jury.

The charge is then read to the jury. The prosecutor and the defense counsel then make their closing arguments to the jury. The jury is given a copy of the charge and they decide the verdict in secrecy.

Learn more about Mistrial

Punishment Phase
If a defendant is found guilty, a punishment phase to determine the sentence occurs.

In Texas, the judge is the default choice to decide the sentence. However, a defendant has a right to have a jury decide the sentence.
The punishment phase is similar to guilt-innocence in that both sides make opening and closing statements and put on witnesses. The big difference is that almost any information about the defendant can be considered in the punishment phase. The state may prove up the defendant’s prior criminal record, put on witnesses to testify about the defendant’s character, or try to prove that the defendant committed other bad acts. Basically, the state can ask the judge or jury to consider much more information about the defendant—information that would not be allowed into evidence during the guilt-innocence phase.

Learn more about Selecting the Jury

Read more here

What should I know about Texas Criminal Appeals?

Please browse the articles below to get started.

Direct Criminal Appeals

Learn more about Writs of Habeas Corpus