Texas Criminal Law and Penalties FAQs
Based in Rockwall, The Law Firm of Patrick Short defends people accused of criminal offenses, including felonies and misdemeanors, in North and East Texas. Attorney Patrick Short believes that everyone deserves experienced legal counsel to protect their rights in criminal proceedings. Below, please find answers to frequently asked questions we commonly receive about Texas criminal law and penalties.
Q. If I have been arrested, do I have the right to remain silent even if the police officers do not read my rights?
A. Yes. If you are arrested or held in a custodial interrogation, you have a right to remain silent regardless of whether the officers arresting or interrogating you have advised you of this right. If you refuse to answer questions, this fact cannot be used against you at any subsequent trial, but if you do chose to answer questions, anything you say can be used against you. If the police officers failed to advise you of your right to remain silent, an experienced criminal defense lawyer may be able to suppress any statements you made or any evidence found as a result.
Q. If the police ask me if they can search my home or my car, should I give my consent?
A. Generally, police must have a warrant to search your home and a warrant or at least probable cause to search your car. The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures. If you consent to a search, however, the police do not need a warrant or probable cause, and any evidence they find can be used against you in criminal proceedings. The fact that you were cooperative will not prevent you from being convicted.
You should never feel pressured into giving up your constitutional rights. If your home or car was searched, an experienced criminal defense lawyer can analyze the actions of the police and examine any warrants to determine whether your rights were violated.
Q. If I was arrested on misdemeanor charges, do I need to hire a lawyer?
A. To make sure your rights are properly protected, it is important that you contact a lawyer immediately after an arrest, regardless of the severity of the charge. A Class A misdemeanor charge, as defined in Texas Penal Code section 12.21, can carry punishments that include jail time of up to one year and a fine of up to $4,000. In addition, a criminal conviction on your record can negatively impact your life in secondary ways, such as when applying for jobs, in child custody actions, or when applying for U.S. citizenship.
Q. Can I lose my driver’s license if I am convicted of a drug offense?
A. Pursuant to Texas Transportation Code section 521.372, in most cases, your driver’s license will be automatically suspended for 180 days if you are convicted of a drug-related offense. This is true even if the offense had no relation to the operation of a motor vehicle. If you have been arrested for a drug-related offense, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. To learn more about our criminal defense legal services, see our criminal defense practice page.
Contact an Experienced Texas Criminal Law Expert
If you have been arrested or believe you may become the subject of a criminal investigation, contact The Law Firm of Patrick Short immediately. The earlier we are involved in your case, the better the chances are that we can minimize or prevent a criminal conviction. Contact The Law Firm of Patrick Short today at 800-759-1484 to schedule a free initial consultation.