Frequently Asked Questions About Criminal Charges

Jail

I was arrested. I posted bail and am waiting for my case to be resolved. Could I go back to jail?

Maybe. You will go back to jail if you fail to appear for your court date, you negotiate a plea for jail time, plead to probation and violate the terms of that plea, or are convicted for your charge by a court of law. Of course, you could also end up back in jail if you commit a new offense.

My girlfriend was arrested and is sitting in jail because we cannot afford to post her bond. Is there anything that can be done to get her out?

Her attorney may be able to ask the judge to decrease the amount of the bond so that the amount you pay a bondsman is much more manageable. Alternatively, her attorney can ask to have her released on a personal recognizance bond if the prosecutor has not filed the case against her within a certain period of time, depending on the charge.

Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)

If I get pulled over for driving while intoxicated and I am asked to do field sobriety tests or do a breath test, do I have to do it?

No, you do not! Voluntarily engaging in field sobriety tests or providing a specimen of your breath, blood or urine, gives the police possible evidence to use against you later. However, if you do not provide a specimen of your breath, blood or urine when the police believe you have been driving while intoxicated, your license will be suspended for twice the time of a normal suspension of someone who did provide a specimen and who was over the legal limit.

I was arrested for driving while intoxicated and was given a form about ALRs. What is that, and do I need to do anything?

ALR stands for Administrative License Revocation hearing. You do not have to do anything. However, if you wish to fight the suspension of your license following a DWI arrest, you have 15 days to submit a request for an ALR hearing. Read the form and follow the instructions to request a hearing. ALRs are good ways for your defense attorney to figure out what the police officer who arrested you might say later at trial, even if you are unsuccessful with getting your driver's license suspension lifted at the ALR hearing.

A friend of mine had his driver's license suspended for driving with an invalid license, but he obtained an occupational driver's license. I was arrested for a driving while intoxicated and my license was suspended. Can I also get an occupational driver's license? If so, what is it?

You may petition the court to grant you an occupational driver's license to allow you to drive under certain strict conditions. You may be allowed travel to and from work or school, for example, but only during certain times and over certain routes. You must keep a log of where you are coming from and where you are going as well as other important documents with you while driving. You need to speak with an attorney to see if you qualify for an occupational driver's license.

Assault

If I was arrested for assault and the person the police think I assaulted is my spouse/significant other with whom I live, am I allowed to go back home or be in contact with that person?

No, not if a protective order is in place against you. Protective orders usually only last a couple of months but can be extended for up to two years. If you violate a protective order, you can be arrested and charged with a new criminal offense. If you have a pending assault charge, it is best not to have contact with the person the police believe you have assaulted.

I was arrested for assault against my spouse/significant other/best friend and that person does not want to prosecute the case against me. Is there anything that we can do?

Yes. Your spouse/significant other/best friend can fill out an Affidavit of Non-Prosecution and file it with the clerk of the court. You usually get this document from your attorney or from the victim's services section of the district attorney's office. Filing the Affidavit of Non-Prosecution does not guarantee that your case will be dismissed. The prosecutor can still continue with the case against you regardless of what the alleged victim wants to do.

Drug Offenses

I was arrested for possession of marijuana but the amount was incredibly small. Why am I being charged with a crime?

Possession of marijuana is a criminal offense in Texas, and the level of crime you are charged with depends on the amount that was found in your possession. If the amount was small enough, it may not meet the "usable quantity" requirement of the statute. Ask an attorney about your options.

I was convicted for a drug offense (i.e., possession of marijuana, possession of a controlled substance) and now my license is suspended. How do I get my license reinstated?

You need to find out why your license was suspended. Sometimes a conviction for a drug offense is only one of the reasons your license is suspended. If your license is suspended only for the drug offense, you can usually take an approved drug education course and pay the reinstatement fee to reinstate your license.

I am going to take a plea for possession of marijuana or possession of a controlled substance. Is there anything I need to be aware of?

Besides the possible suspension of your driver's license mentioned above, you need to make sure you show up to court "clean" (not under the influence). If you take a plea to a drug charge, the judge is likely to test you for that drug when you go to court.

Have More Questions? Contact Us For Answers.

Scanio & Scanio, A Professional Corporation, is based in San Marcos and serves clients in Central Texas. To discuss your case with an experienced attorney, call us at 512-212-9911, or send us an email.