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San Antonio Criminal Defense FAQ

What is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony?

All crimes in Texas are classified into two major categories: misdemeanors and felonies. There are three classes of misdemeanors and five classes of felonies. Misdemeanors are considered to be less serious than felonies and carry lighter sentences. A misdemeanor charge, however, is still a serious matter, since it is fully punishable under law and can result in a criminal record that can cause problems in terms of finding employment or even housing.

What penalty could I receive if convicted?

The sentence you could receive in the event that you are convicted on the charges you face depends on the severity of the offense. Under the terms of the Texas Penal Code, the criminal penalties available in San Antonio and statewide include:

  • Capital felony — Death sentence or life in prison without possibility of parole
  • First-degree felony — Fines of up to $10,000 and life in prison
  • Second-degree felony — Fines of up to $10,000 and up to 20 years in prison
  • Third-degree felony — Fines of up to $10,000 and up to 10 years in prison
  • State jail felony — Fines of up to $10,000 and up to 2 years in state jail
  • Class A misdemeanor — Fines of up to $4,000 and up to 1 year in county jail
  • Class B misdemeanor — Fines of up to $2,000 and up to 180 days in county jail
  • Class C misdemeanor — Fines of up to $500

Beyond these punishments, a criminal conviction can carry additional penalties. For example, a DWI or drug offender may end up being ordered to complete a program of addiction treatment or therapy. Individuals convicted of assault or domestic violence are often sentenced to attend anger management classes. A conviction for a sex crime nearly always results in an order to register as a sex offender.

Can I fight the charges even if I was caught with drugs in my possession?

A large percentage of the cases we handle involve possession of marijuana and other drugs. You may think that the fact that the police officer found drugs in your pocket, your bag, your vehicle or your home means that you were caught red-handed and have no way of avoiding a conviction. Fortunately, it is possible to fight possession charges and it is often possible to win. One strategy is to invoke the defendant's Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure, possibly having the charges dismissed based on the fact that the evidence was gathered without a search warrant. This is only one example of the strategies that can be used to fight drug possession charges.

How can I contest DWI charges even if I was caught with a high BAC?

Many people who have been arrested after failing a breath or blood test give up fighting the charges and simply enter a guilty plea in hopes of getting a lighter sentence. The chemical tests for blood alcohol concentration, however, are not infallible, and the results of such tests can sometimes be invalidated. For example, breathalyzer tests may register residual "mouth alcohol," rather than alcohol present in the lungs as a result of intoxication. Blood test results can sometimes be thrown out by pointing to gaps in the documentation of the blood sample's chain of custody, thereby raising questions about whether the sample is actually the defendant's blood. There are many proven strategies for challenging tests for driving while intoxicated.

What does it mean to "plead the Fifth?"

Under the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution, you cannot be compelled to act as a witness against yourself. This is the source of the phrase, "You have the right to remain silent." Because anything and everything you say can — and will — be used against you in court, it is vital that you avoid speaking about the case with anyone but your San Antonio criminal defense attorney. The things you say to your lawyer are held in confidence by the attorney-client relationship, but whatever you say to investigators or in court may end up being used to further incriminate you. Don't make the mistake of agreeing to talk with the police. No matter how friendly they may seem, even if they suggest that you can improve the situation by cooperating, you must remember that they are not on your side, and by talking you only help them in their goal of having you convicted. Exercise your right to remain silent and contact our firm as soon as possible for a 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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