1. I was never read my rights (Miranda warnings) weren’t read to me during my arrest. Does that mean my case will get dismissed?
The failure to have your Miranda Rights alone does not mean that your case will get dismissed. However, this failure could prevent the use of statements that were made by you during your arrest that could lead to a dismissal or a reduction in the charges against you. Contact Miller Law Group, PLLC to explore your rights and defend your case.
2. Is the Police Officer that arrested me going to be in court on the day I’m scheduled for court?
The Police Officer is only required to be in court for your case when it is scheduled for trial or a hearing. If you are on the court’s docket for any other reason, the police officer will not be in court for your individual case. If you do see your arresting Police Officer at the Harris County Criminal Justice Center, he/she could be there for another case and it probably is just a coincidence.
3. Will I get the money I used to post my bond back after my case is completed?
It depends. If you posted a cash bond and appeared at court as required then your money will be returned, minus a small administrative fee. If you went through a bail-bondsman in order to get yourself or someone else out of Harris County Jail, then you will not be returned your money for the convenience of using their service and not having to post the full amount of the bond in cash.
4. Is my arrest public record?
Yes, it is public record and can be easily located on the Internet until you get an expunction, following a dismissal or not guilty verdict. Juvenile records, however, are not public record and usually can be sealed once the case is resolved.
5. How much will it cost for you to represent me?
Each case is unique so there isn’t a specific amount for each type of charge. I will need to personally speak with you to determine the facts of your case and the nature of the charges. I understand that no one plans ahead to get arrested and this is an unexpected large expense. I accept all major credit cards and I’m willing to work out a payment plan depending on your individual circumstances.
6. I have a criminal conviction. Am I eligible for a petition for non-disclosure or expunction?
No, convictions cannot be removed from your criminal record by filing a petition for a non-disclosure or expunction. This is why it is very important to consider your future when pleading guilty because of the long term consequences or collateral consequences of a criminal conviction. Short of a post-conviction appeal or a pardon by the governor, a conviction will be on your criminal history forever. There is no “expiration date” when a conviction disappears from your record.
7. Can I get my gun, car, or money…back after the police took them?
If your car or money was seized then the State will file a civil lawsuit against you attempting to have your property forfeited to the state. You need to aggressively contest this in civil court, separately from your criminal case. A criminal defense attorney can help you with this situation. If your property is a gun, it depends on the criminal charge. If you are charged with a misdemeanor, such as carrying a weapon or unlawfully carrying a weapon, contingent on a successful outcome of your case you may be entitled to get the gun returned to you. You lawyer would need to file a motion to restore property and ask the court to return the gun back to you. However, if you use a gun in a more serious case such as the weapon in an aggravated assault case, your gun will be kept as evidence and destroyed following disposition of the case.
8. Is it OK to miss my court date?
No, if you are scheduled to be in court you have to show up. The court can potentially revoke or forfeit your bond, issue a warrant for your arrest, and raise the amount of money needed to post another bond to get out of jail. A criminal lawyer familiar with the system can usually adjust your court date with prior notice if you have conflict and cannot appear on your scheduled date. Being charged with a crime is a serious matter and should not be taken lightly. Do not skip your court date and do not show up late. Both actions could potentially result in having your bail forfeited and subsequently increased after you are re-arrested. It will cost you time and money and additional stress when you already have enough problems to deal with.
9. Does every cop car have a video camera/DVD recorder?
The Houston Police Department and Harris County Sheriff’s Office patrol vehicles do not all have such equipment. Typically the smaller cities surrounding Houston do such as, Webster and Humble all do have video cameras equipped in every patrol vehicle. A good defense attorney can use both situations to their advantage to form a creative defense to assist you. As a general rule, you should always assume everything you do and say is being recorded and will be used against you by the prosecution.
10. What are the visiting hours at the Harris County Jail?
If you want to visit someone being held in Harris County Jail, please read the Harris County Sheriff’s Department website. Remember that in jail there is no reasonable expectation privacy and potentially all visitations, phone calls and mail are being recorded and read so again assume that this could be another way prosecutors and law enforcement can develop more evidence against you.