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San Antonio Criminal Defense Attorneys

What to do after an arrest in San Antonio

YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT. USE IT! If you have been arrested or have learned that you are under investigation for a crime, do not talk with the police. Very often, investigators try to coax a suspect into discussing the situation by presenting a friendly demeanor or by suggesting that, by cooperating, the suspect may be able to avoid serious consequences. What you must remember is that the only reason this person wants to talk to you is because he or she thinks you committed the crime, and is hoping to get you to say something that can be used as evidence in the case. You do not have to help the police do their job of trying to have you convicted by agreeing to talk.

There is practically nothing you can say that will improve the situation, and you could easily make self-incriminating statements. For example, if you are telling your side of the story and say that you hit the other person but only in self-defense, you have relieved the prosecutor of the burden of proving that you did in fact hit the alleged victim and that you were present at the scene of the crime. If you are suspected of sexual assault and tell the investigator that the sex was consensual, you have admitted that intercourse did occur. Don't take chances by trying to explain your innocence or answer questions from law enforcement. Politely, but firmly, insist on having your San Antonio criminal defense attorney present with you at all times during questioning and in court, and refer any requests for contact to our office at Masson & Peranteau.

Facing Federal Criminal Charges

If you or a loved one is charged with a federal crime, it is crucial to locate and retain an attorney who is experienced in federal criminal law. At Masson & Peranteau, we are experienced in federal criminal law and have represented people in federal court in Texas and many other states in the United States. Criminal charges in federal court are extremely serious, and the sentences for federal crimes are significantly longer and harsher than those in State court. Probation is rarely even available as an option. Before charges have been filed, federal agents often execute a search warrant by surprise, and obtain recorded statements from the person they later accuse of a crime. Many people do not realize the most damaging moment in their case may be the moment they choose to speak with federal marshals or agents without first consulting with a lawyer experienced in federal law. If you are facing federal criminal charges, call us at Masson & Peranteau. We can help you.

Driving While Intoxicated

DWI offenses are complex. If you are stopped for an alleged DWI, the police will rely on what you say and what you do to justify the stop and to build a case against you so you will be convicted in court. You are not required to help them build their case against you. This is why it is important to know and understand your constitutional rights. First, you have a right to remain silent. Although you must provide your name, driver's license and proof of insurance, you are not required to answer any questions. Second, you have a right to a lawyer. If you ask for a lawyer, the police must stop asking you questions. Third, you have a right against self-incrimination. Anything you say or do will be used as evidence against you in court. For example, during most DWI stops, the police officer will tell you to stand in front of his police car (which is where the video camera is located) and perform the "field sobriety tests", including the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test (which involves following a pen light with your eyes), the one-leg stand balancing test, the heel-to-toe walking on a straight line test, and other similar tests. The police officer will not tell you that you have a right to refuse to do these tests. However, based on your right against self-incrimination, you may refuse to perform all of these tests. Considering that a videotape of you performing tests that most people can't successfully do when they are sober is admissible against you in court, there is no good reason for you to agree to do them in the first place. If you do decide to perform the field sobriety tests in front of a video camera, if you ask for a lawyer before you begin the test, the audio portion of the recording will not be admissible against you in court. By knowing your constitutional rights, you will be in a better position to protect yourself when you are being accused of a crime.

Marijuana & Drug Crimes

A large number of all the cases we handle involve drug crimes such as simple possession of marijuana. The war on drugs has not been successful in getting drugs off the streets of America and has given this country the largest prison population in the world. We will aggressively represent you and do everything in our power to clear your name of the charges and defend your career and reputation.

Assault & Sex Crimes

A conviction for a violent or sexual crime on your criminal record will make it difficult or impossible to secure housing or employment since many landlords and employers are reluctant to accept your application after learning of the nature of your criminal background. Furthermore, as a consequence of being charged with an assault or a sex offense you may be served with a restraining order and in some cases be required to register as a sex offender. At Masson & Peranteau, we are experienced in defending against these kinds of charges. Call us today for an appointment to discuss your options.

Expunging & Sealing Records

If you have been arrested and the charges have been dismissed or deferred, we may be able to help you clean or seal your criminal record, which will give you a fresh start in life. The requirements for this type of relief are strict and the procedures are complicated.. You need an experienced lawyer to help you navigate through this legal process.

Juvenile Crimes

As parents and with a background in public education, our legal team has a special, personal dedication to helping young people who have been accused of crimes. We will aggressively defend young people in court and seek out and use "teachable moments" to help these young persons learn valuable life lessons that they will be able to incorporate into their decision-making skills in the future to avoid repeating their mistakes.

Criminal Penalties in San Antonio, TX

One of the first questions that many clients ask when they come to our office for an initial consultation has to do with the sentence they could receive if convicted. The people who seek our help are often frightened and concerned about the future and want to know what may happen in the worst-case scenario. The penalty you could receive in the event that you are convicted on the charges you face depends on whether you are being prosecuted for a misdemeanor or a felony. Furthermore, the Texas Penal Code provides for several different degrees of misdemeanors and felonies, according to the severity of the offense.

There are three classes of misdemeanors. The least severe is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine only of up to $500. Next, is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 months in the county jail and a fine of up to $2,000. The most serious misdemeanor is a Class A misdemeanor which is punishable by up to a year in the county jail and a fine of up to $4,000.

There are five degrees of felony offenses. The least severe is a State Jail Felony which carries a maximum sentence of up to 2 years in a state jail and up to a $10,000 fines. A Third Degree Felony is punishable by 2-10 years in prison, a Second Degree Felony is punishable by 2-20 years in prison and a First Degree Felony is punishable by 5-99 years or life in prison. First, second and third degree felonies also carry a fine of up to $10,000. Finally, the most severe felony is the Capital Felony which is punishable by death or life in prison without the possibility of parole.

In all but capital felonies, community supervision (probation) is possible and, depending on the nature and circumstances of you case, may include conditions such as substance abuse rehabilitation treatment, anger management, counseling, or sex offender registration. However, even when a conviction is unavoidable, it is possible to negotiate with the prosecutor for a more lenient sentence. To find out what penalties you could receive and learn about strategies we can use in your defense, contact our firm now for your free case evaluation.

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Masson & Peranteau Attorneys at Law - San Antonio Criminal Defense Attorneys - San Antonio Criminal Defense Attorney
Located at 310 S. St Mary's Street, Suite 1240 San Antonio, TX 78205 View Map
Phone: (210) 212-9098
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